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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018

'This will put farmers out of business' - Tesco criticised for low prices for lamb

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association claim that a retail price is unsustainable.

Image: Shutterstock/Tony Baggett

FARMERS HAVE CRITICISED Tesco for selling lamb at a cheap price, saying that it puts pressure on them at an already difficult time of the year.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) sheep chairperson John Brooks has hit out at Tesco for undermining premium spring lamb producers by offloading the meat at unsustainably low prices.

The association is calling on Tesco to stop this practice immediately.

“Tesco is currently selling lamb at a ridiculously low price of €8.69/kg. This can only be described as below cost selling. This will have the effect of putting farmers out of business,” Brooks said.

Tesco Ireland told that this promotion was planned as part of their nationwide introduction of spring lamb and was fully funded by the company.

“The promotion is short term and runs for 10 days from 14-23 May 2017,” a Tesco spokesperson said.

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Brooks claims that farmers need at least €7/kg to sustain high cost early spring lamb systems and processing costs and that “it is clear that a retail price of €8.69/kg is unsustainable”.

“Early spring lamb producers need a minimum of €7/kg and a realistic weight limit of 22kgs in order to leave farmers with a small profit margin.”

ISCA said that Tesco don’t seem to understand that early lamb production is a complex and high cost system.

“Spring lamb producers excelled as usual. They carefully planned lambing dates /sale dates, cared for their flock pre and post lambing at a time of year when you have long winter nights and feed costs are at a maximum in order to have a premium product ready for Easter and early summer,” Brooks said.

He said that it is now the time of year when early spring lamb producers are calculating their losses from their enterprises.

“After all this work, the industry cheats us by paying a bad price and introducing spurious weight limits,” he said.

Read: SuperValu retakes top spot in Ireland’s supermarket wars

More: ‘It’s misleading’ – is a tricolour sticker on fish enough to convince you it comes from Ireland?

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