The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) will continue its protests outside Dunnes Stores in Cork and Monaghan overnight on Monday until the retailer agrees to meet IFA members and discuss price increases to suppliers to address rising costs at farm level.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said Dunnes Stores cannot continue to ignore the very difficult situation at farm level. He said that the supermarket chain's key management hadn’t even acknowledged the IFA's request for a meeting.

“Farmers are resolute. We received strong support from shoppers today. They recognise the quality food they are buying and they are willing to pay a price that covers the cost of that,” he said.

Step in

Cullinan called for Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to step in, adding that he believes the Government’s inaction on retail legislation has left farmers without any power in the food chain.

“The Minister's comments today that retailers should not sell food below the cost of production are welcome, but he now needs to walk the walk and make this part of his new bill on the long promised food regulator," he said.

IFA poultry chair Nigel Sweetnam said that other retailers have met with the IFA and acknowledged the issue of rising costs, but they too need to act.

“We cannot survive at current prices. We are looking for 15c a chicken and 2c an egg," he said.

IFA pig chair Roy Gallie said that pig farmers also need retailers and the Government to step up.

“Pig farmers are in a vice-like grip with feed price increases on one side and falling prices on the other," he said.

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IFA to 'escalate protests' unless action is taken on price