The IFA is calling on retailers, facilitators and the foodservice sector to support vegetable producers who are currently facing an income crisis.
IFA Horticulture Chairman Paul Brophy said that the tough weather conditions have coincided with an increase in input prices across the board this year, including significant increases in labour, insurance, land rental, diesel and quality assurance costs.
Hot & Cold Conditions
Brophy said that an urgent review of farm gate prices is needed to reflect the current farm business environment. He added that the situation is most acute in the outdoor field vegetable sector.
Many of the field vegetable businesses have already lost crops to the elements, the IFA said, and without some positive intervention from businesses at the end of the fresh produce supply chain these farmers may not survive this season.
“The spring and early summer have been characterised by unusual weather patterns. Growers firstly endured the difficult and late sowing conditions in spring and they are now dealing with very dry conditions,” Paul Brophy said.
“This will result in a financial loss from yield reductions but producers are also incurring considerable extra costs in trying to alleviate the worst effects of the current lack of rainfall. Many areas in the east and south-east have received little or no rain for the last eight weeks and it looks as if there will be no respite over the coming days.”
“Continuing unfair trading practices among the retailers such as, below-cost selling, unsustainable discounting and tendering have resulted in untenable farm gate prices,” Brophy added.
“Growers have limped along with poor returns and survived only due to exceptional yields and recent seasons of benign weather. Existing producer returns include no accommodation for natural yield reductions; the vagaries of the weather or input cost increases and leave no leeway for reinvestment in farm businesses.”
The IFA said that it is currently in the process of meeting retailers and facilitators to highlight the seriousness of the situation.
Brophy reminded retailers that, as members of the Bord Bia Origin Green Scheme, they have a responsibility to ensure the economic sustainability for the primary producer.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.