Price wars between retailers are “inherently damaging” to vegetable growers, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Tim Cullinan has said.
Speaking at the launch of the IFA’s Christmas campaign, which aims to promote the agricultural sector's produce present in a traditional Christmas dinner, Cullinan said retailers have a responsibility to pay producers a viable price for their produce.
“Price wars are inherently damaging to growers, destabilising demand for their produce and creating the impression that costs of production are lower than they actually are,” he said.
A root and branch review of the food chain should be the first body of work for the new Agri-Food Regulator when it meets for the first time next week, Cullinan said.
“The new Agri-Food Regulator will have responsibility for all producers of food, but this sector [horticulture] is on the brink of non-viability and needs immediate attention in order to retain grower numbers and fresh produce production in Ireland.
“Farmers were never more in need of a voice and regulation to stand up for their livelihoods in an ever more dysfunctional food supply chain.
“Today’s food supply chain is dominated by a small number of big players. Their dominance is determining the livelihoods and future of farmers and food producers,” he added.