Beef Farmers Block Distribution Centre As Protests Continue

Beef farmers have this morning, Tuesday 10 December, blockaded the Musgraves Central Distribution Centre (CDC) in Kilcock, Co Kildare as their fight for fair beef prices continue.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has urged farmers not to accept the current beef price on offer from factories and to demand a lot more.

The protest will last 12 hours and follows similar action at the Tesco central distribution centre in Dublin yesterday and the Aldi and Lidl CDCs last week.

President of the IFA Joe Healy said the latest Bord Bia Beef Price Index, (for Dec 01), shows that the gap between Irish prices and 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.

"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.

Joe 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," Mr Healy added.

The latest EU Commission beef price data shows that cattle prices in the UK, Ireland's main export market, have increased again for the week ending Dec 01 to the equivalent of €4.13/kg, which is 52c/kg or €187 per head ahead of Irish prices. He said the UK price return has increased again with sterling improved to 84p/€.

"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."

Mr Healy added that farmers were 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 concluded.


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