The retail forum, convened by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, met on Wednesday 10 May to discuss the key issues affecting the retail sector.

Macra president John Keane said he was astonished that there was not a single representative of the primary food producers in Ireland among the 35 members of the forum.

Macra noted that the effects of food inflation are becoming increasingly evident and it is clear that inflationary pressures are affecting everyone.

It added that there is a need to stabilise or decrease the prices being paid by consumers.

Increased costs

However, reducing the price paid to primary food producers is not the solution, as they have already experienced significant increases in input costs, such as fertiliser and energy, in the past 18 months, with no corresponding increase in the prices they receive for their produce.

Keane emphasised the importance of consulting with primary food producers in any discussions related to the cost of food to consumers.

He stated that without engaging with the food sector, it is unlikely that any significant changes can be made.

In a letter to Minister of State Neale Richmond, who chaired Wednesday’s meeting, Macra president John Keane asked why the Department of Enterprise, the Department of Finance, the Department of Further and Higher Education, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Social Protection and the Department of the Environment attended the meeting, but not the Department of Agriculture.