Processors are 'shredding' lamb prices claims IFA
Factory attempts to pull lamb quotes back to €5/kg have prompted an angry reaction from farm leaders.
The IFA accused processors of "shredding" farmers' incomes, while the ICSA claimed the factories were undermining the financial basis of the industry.
Sean Dennehy of the IFA claimed the factories were using imported lamb in order to slash prices to local farmer suppliers.
Reports that some plants were importing lambs from Scotland and England through Northern Ireland, while telling local suppliers that they have to cut their price, had provoked real anger among sheep farmers, Mr Dennehy said. There were even stories of lamb being imported from as far away as Australia to keep prices down, he maintained.
"This is an utter scandal," he said.
Mr Dennehy pointed out that this week last year lamb prices were €5.80-5.90/kg.
"This week factories have cut prices to €5.10-5.30/kg, which is 60-70c/kg or €13 to €15 per lamb down on last year's price.
"With lamb prices in supermarkets the very same as last year, farmers believe the factories are lining their own pockets," he said.
The IFA has demanded that factories hold prices and move up carcase weights for lambs to 21.5kg. In addition, it called for the carcase weight on ewes to move up to 45kg.
Mr Dennehy said ewes were making €1.20/kg last week in the marts, which he said was well above the factory price.
The ICSA's Sean McNamara said meat processors had gone too far with lamb price cuts.
"Factories have hit the sector with low blow after low blow and they've now gone beyond what could ever be deemed acceptable," he said.
"Quotes for spring lamb have gone down to €5.00/kg and there's a chance they could be pulled even further. At €5.00/kg it's just not sustainable to stay going, we simply won't have a sheep industry at all if this is allowed to continue."
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