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IFA staging latest blockade outside Musgrave distribution centre in Kildare

Musgrave supplies Supervalu and Centra stores.

Updated Dec 10th 2019, 10:15 AM

THE IRISH FARMERS’ Association (IFA) is staging a blockade outside the Musgrave central distribution centre in Kilcock, Co Kildare.

Musgrave supplies Supervalu, Centra and other stores around the country. 

The latest protest is part of the ongoing farmer campaign for an increase in beef prices, following similar blockades outside distribution centres for Tesco, Lidl and Aldi in the last week.

Today’s protest began at 7am and is expected to last until 7pm, as the previous protests did.

Beef farmers should not accept the current beef price on offer from factories and “demand a lot more”, IFA President Joe Healy said.

He said the latest Bord Bia Beef Price Index (for 1 December) shows that the gap between Irish prices and our main export markets has widened again and now stands at 21c/kg, up from 20c/kg the previous week.

This gap has increased from 5c/kg in mid-October to 21c/kg last week, highlighting the improvement in beef market prices to the factories, Healy said in a statement. 

“The facts are the factories held back on these market price improvements to farmers over the last five to six weeks and the Bord Bia Price Index proves this,” he said.

Healy said steer prices at the factories have risen by 10c/kg this week and heifer prices are up 5c to 10c/kg, depending on the factory. However, he said beef prices are still well behind the Bord Bia export benchmark price and even further behind the UK price.

“Irish farmers should be getting a higher price for their stock, supplies are tightening and farmers should hold out for more,” Healy said.

He added that the latest EU Commission beef price data shows that cattle prices in the UK, our main export market, increased again for week ending 1 December – to the equivalent of €4.13/kg, which is 52c/kg or €187 per head ahead of Irish prices.

This level of a price gap is unsustainable and Irish cattle prices have to rise further, immediately.

“We don’t have to wait for ‘price-setting Friday’ as stated by ABP. Factories should increase prices today and we are driving home the message to retailers. Tell your suppliers to treat farmers fairly,” Healy stated.

‘Unsustainable’ 

Healy said farmers are also angry that SuperValu were promoting a ‘save 33%’ offer on Irish beef at the weekend. “This unsustainable discounting ends up being paid for by farmers,” he said.

A spokesperson for Musgrave stated that SuperValu has “a long-standing commitment to Irish farmers and 100% of our SuperValu branded beef is Irish”.

“The price of beef is agreed between processors and farmers, as 90% of Irish beef is exported, it is important to note that we do not determine the market price of beef. ”

In a statement issued on Friday, ABP said Healy and the IFA “were fully aware that market indications pointed towards a cattle price increase in Ireland”. 

“The price paid by ABP for cattle will always be determined by the prevailing market conditions and those conditions have recently improved.”

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The statement noted that ABP would increase the base price of cattle for deliveries from yesterday onwards. 

A spokesperson for ABP said the company won’t be commenting beyond the statement issued last week. 

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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