The latest price war among retailers cannot be at the expense of farmers, outgoing president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Tim Cullinan has said.

Some supermarkets have slashed prices since the new year and Cullinan said farmers cannot be on “the frontline of another retail war”.

“If the retailers want to engage in combat for customers, it cannot be at the expense of farmers and producers.

“The idea that primary producers can afford to take a lower price flies in the face of higher input costs. The food chain cannot survive if relentless pressure is piled on those who produce the food,” he said.

The IFA president added that a farmer’s role in producing quality food for consumers needs to be recognised.

“It costs money to deliver quality food to supermarket shelves. This has to be recognised by giving a fair margin to those who put in the work and investment on the ground.

“Pretending that it can be done for less is not serving anybody,” he said.

Food chain

Cullinan said retailers cannot use their dominant position in the food chain to reduce farmers’ margins and not their own.

“This imbalance in power in our food supply chain is something that the new Agri-Food Regulator must investigate and act upon,” he said.

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