Chicken farmers demanding increases in egg prices have been demonstrating at Lidl and Aldi branches in the town of Cavan in recent days.
The egg producers were supported in the demonstrations by pig farmers, who are also demanding a higher share of the selling price of their products.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said producers wanted to highlight “their anger and growing concern for the future” of the pig and poultry sectors.
IFA Poultry Deputy Chairman Brendan Soden said egg producers are facing closure because “the discounters are not giving farmers a fair return”.
“It has been almost 12 months since we launched our nationwide campaign to ensure producers a viable income. The egg supply is at risk unless another 2 cents per egg is fenced in directly for egg producers,” he said.
“Producers are strongly considering not restocking their farms at this time. In 2012, half a dozen free range eggs were sold for €2.19. Today it’s €1.89, a reduction of 15 pieces. This year alone, agricultural inputs have increased by 40.2 percent; Consumer Goods are up 9.1 percent; and food price inflation rose 6.8 percent; according to CSO. This simply does not help to secure the supply of Irish products for the future.”
The IFA has warned retailers that producers face further “significant” cost hikes in both feed and non-feed costs and consumers “will not find Irish eggs on store shelves any time soon” unless they are addressed immediately.
Pig and chicken producers support the egg sector and also emphasize their struggles.
“An average sized family farm, despite receiving state aid, owes €380,000. Primary producers only get 15 per cent of the retail price of ham, so I urge all retailers to give back a larger percentage to producers immediately to ensure the survival of pig farms,” said Roy Gallie, IFA Pigs Chairman.
Chicken producers have also lobbied for an additional 15 cents per chicken to be returned to producers.
The association’s poultry chairman, Nigel Sweetman, described it as a “scandal” that an initial requirement of 15 cents per chicken had not been delivered to all chicken farmers and now “our egg producers are at risk of being shut down”.
“Farmer frustration is at boiling point after several unsatisfactory contacts with retailers. Action must be taken immediately or supplies cannot be guaranteed,” he added.
A spokesman for Aldi said the German retailer was in constant negotiations with egg suppliers and described the Cavan protests as “reckless”.
“We have been in active discussions with our egg suppliers for a few weeks to agree on a fourth price increase this year. “These conversations have been productive, driven by our desire to support our long-term supply. At a time when everyone is grappling with a cost-of-living crisis, that ambition is more important than ever,” the spokesperson said.
“On Saturday (October 1st) talks were taken further when a price increase was agreed with our egg suppliers, well above what the protesting farmers are demanding.
“It’s up to our egg suppliers and the farmers with whom they have a commercial agreement to agree how this outcome will be shared. Given this progress, the continued disruption of our Cavan business by a small number of farmers is inconsiderate. The lockdown preventing store deliveries has caused real frustration for our customers. frustrations we share. Stock is not the problem, access is. Our vans are loaded with Irish produce from our Irish suppliers ready to stock the shelves of our Cavan shop. Unfortunately, the blockages prevent this.”
He added: “In a context of record inflation and rising household costs, value matters more than ever. In recent days, hard-pressed local customers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis have been disregarded by protesters. Such a short-sighted approach serves no one.
“We appreciate that farmers and suppliers will always try to get the best possible deal. This is reflected in our commitment to engagement and discussions that are ongoing. We always strive for and achieve positive, sustainable supplier relationships. But we will never compromise our value proposition to our customers. With good will and understanding it is possible to find the right balance.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Lidl said: “Lidl will not comment on this issue.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/farmers-target-supermarkets-demanding-higher-price-for-eggs-as-aldi-says-picket-is-reckless-42036733.html Farmers target supermarkets demanding higher prices for eggs as Aldi says pickets are ‘reckless’