Egg producers are entering into their fifth day of protest in Cavan as tensions mount outside Aldi and Lidl shops in Cavan town. The protesting farmers made up of a wide selection of farmers across a number of sectors are quite resolute in their stance with many saying they are there for the long haul. They say unless they get the 2 cent/egg increase they are looking for they won’t be moving from the front doors or the supplier entrances of the two Cavan premises.

Brendan Soden, vice chair of the IFA poultry committee said: “We’ve had a very positive response from shopper at the two Cavan shops with the vast majority of them having no problem at all in paying an extra 2 cent/egg to keep egg producers in business. We have sympathy for these people in terms of the disruption we are causing but we have bene left with no choice but to take this drastic action. We have no choice now but sit this one out until we get the price increase we need. My electricity bill has gone from €2,400/month to €6,000/month in the last few months. I can’t be expected to take that hit without expecting some sort of price increase at the farm gate. To be honest no egg producer will survive these increased production costs unless we see the price we get paid for eggs increased.

Monaghan couple Ciara and David Hasty have only entered into egg production in the last three years and are really finding the recent hike in energy prices tough to deal with. Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal David said: “We have massive payments to meet on a monthly basis and people don’t realise how tough it is to keep going. We have trimmed all our costs. Ciara is a full time nurse but I’m depending on her and the kids to help out picking eggs because we can’t afford to employ any labour. The whole supply chain is broken and farmers are being hung out to dry by processors and supermarkets.”

The IFA cost recovery campaign began last October for pig and poultry sectors. Egg producers requested 2c/egg at the time and chicken farmers requested 15c/chicken (3c of which is outstanding and needed.) Egg producers did receive circa 2c/egg which covered feed after tough negotiations with retailers and packers but unfortunately the war in Ukraine and subsequent hike in energy costs has since surpassed their initial cost recovery request and has meant that a further cost recovery sum is needed.

Sarah Hanley, pig and poultry policy executive with the IFA said: “We don’t want to have to take to the streets and protest for our fair share of the pie, but we have no choice. We don’t have any regulator with real teeth at present that can protect our slice. We understand that the office is coming, but we are also of the strong opinion that it is too late. The Minister of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said at the weekend that farmers deserve and need a fair and proper income and that it’s essential that the retail chain is responsive to that. At the same time, producers were standing outside Aldi and Lidl fighting for the survival of their business.”

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the latest round of price negotiations were instigated in July, yet have not had any impact to the farmer’s margin to date. Further talks are expected to take place today between egg producers, egg packers and supermarkets where it is hoped a resolution can be found. In the meantime farmers remain camped outside the two Cavan supermarkets. For more stay tuned to in the coming days.