Beef cuts cost farmers €168m
Beef price cuts by the factories have cost Irish farmers €168m over the past 12 months, the ICSA has claimed.
The stockowners association maintained that the price cuts represented a direct transfer of income from hard-pressed beef farmers to processors and retailers.
Over the last 12 months finished cattle prices have fallen by over€250/hd. However, the ICSA pointed out that the retail price for beef in Britain during that period had actually increased, while the factories have also benefitted from a 10pc hike in the value of sterling against the euro. ICSA president Patrick Kent accused meat processors and retailers of using an increase in supplies over the last year to "rip off" beef farmers. "Retailers and processors have absolutely abused a slight increase in supply to drive farmers close to the brink of bankruptcy, while the consumer in England is actually paying more for beef today than 12 months ago," Mr Kent said.
"Our analysis shows that the most popular cuts such as mince have increased by some 14pc over the past 12 months, while even the more expensive cuts are holding their own or are marginally dearer," Mr Kent claimed.
"Moreover, the purchasing power of British retailers has actually increased, as it now only requires 79p sterling to buy one euro worth of goods compared with 87p this time last year," he added.
Mr Kent expressed astonishment at what he described as "relaxed approach" of the Irish Government to the beef price cuts.
"Our analysis really means that it will not be possible for the Government to wash their hands any further when it comes to the rip- off of farmers. Apart from the loss to farmers, there are knock-on losses to local rural economies in every county in Ireland as farmers' purchasing power declines substantially," the ICSA president said.