Brussels sprouts must not be used as 'pawns'
Published 21/11/2015 | 02:30
Farmers are warning retailers against discounting vegetables, with thousands of tonnes of brussels sprouts due to be harvested for the Christmas dinner tables.
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) president Eddie Downey has claimed growers are being used as "pawns" in a battle between retailers to claim a share of the lucrative consumer market.
He urged retailers against discounting fresh produce in the run-up to Christmas.
"The use of below-cost selling of farm produce as a tool to drive footfall undermines Irish production and the financial viability of specialist growers," he said.
Mr Downey said fresh produce in season such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and cauliflower cost up to 70c a unit to produce.
He said that when items are being promoted for lower prices in 'giveaways' they are clearly below cost and consumers should be aware that other prices in the shop are raised to cover it.
As they recently launched their 'Christmas for Growers' campaign on a Brussels sprouts farm, Mr Downey said the vegetable market was worth €350m to the economy.
Farm lobby group, the ICMSA, which represents dairy farmers, pointed out that farmers had seen milk price fall by a third since last year while the price remained the same on supermarket shelves.
Pat McCormack from the ICMSA called for action to protect farm prices.