Farmers voice their anger over beef price cuts
IRISH farmers are up in arms because they claim British retailers are putting "age limits" on some of their products.
Yesterday beef farmers protested outside the Tesco store in Naas, insisting they want to send a clear message to the retail chains involved.
An IFA spokesman said the new guidelines are unfair and the income of his members will be seriously hit.
Under the proposals, the age limit of beef from bull calves would be reduced from 16 months to 14 months.
But the IFA says this will mean grass cannot be fed to cattle in the traditional manner.
It says normal methods of feeding are vital if the traditional high quality of Irish meat is to be maintained.
British farmers will not be hit to the same degree, according to IFA sources.
IFA president Eddie Downey also complained that the income of livestock producers is down by between 13pc and 22pc compared to last year.
He said the retail sector should be aware reductions in retail and factory prices have left farmer anger at "boiling point."
According to the IFA, this latest protest action is the first of a number of similar demonstrations planned for the coming weeks.
Mr Downey said livestock farmers are extremely angry and frustrated over the way their incomes have been "decimated" due to price and specification cuts imposed by retailers and factories.
Speaking at the protest in Naas, he warned all of the major retailers, including SuperValu, Dunnes, Aldi and Lidl, that farmers are extremely unhappy with the current situation. He insisted Agriculture Minister Hugh Coveney must deliver the CAP direct payments on October 16 and that provision is made for the GLAS payment to 30,000 farmers.
However, a statement issued by Tesco said there has been no changes to its age restrictions, or specifications in relation to bull beef, and there no plans to make any changes.
"Tesco is a significant supporter of Irish beef farmers; beef exports to Tesco internationally from the Republic of Ireland are about €177m per year, almost 14pc of the total value of beef exports,'' it added.