IFA President John Bryan has said that retailers who fail to address escalating production costs by not returning higher prices to producers, are playing Russian roulette with farm viability in the interests of preserving their own fat margins.
Speaking last week, Mr Bryan said: “Retailers, as key stakeholders in the food supply chain have a responsibility to producers and to the future of the agriculture and food industry in this country. They must recognise the difficulties that farmers are currently faced with by ensuring they receive a fair price for produce, which covers their costs of production plus a margin. Preliminary estimates indicate that farm incomes could be down by as much as 30% for some sectors this year. The key input costs of feed, fertiliser and fuel have risen dramatically. Feed costs are currently up €60 per tonne on last year and rising, fertiliser costs are up 25% and fuel costs are up 30% on 2010 levels.”
Mr Bryan said that production across all sectors has been severely affected by the bad weather, with milk yields down, thrive and weight gain well back in both the beef and sheep meat sectors and a significant yield reduction across the arable and horticultural crops. He concluded: “There is an income crisis in the pig and poultry sectors as a result of increased feed and input costs which has not been fully reflected or reflected at all by retailers and processors.”