Farmers not getting the benefit of high food prices

Farmers are not getting the benefit from high food prices, a fact highlighted this week at national level by local TD Denis Naughten.             He said that a 200 percent mark-up on basic foodstuffs shows farmers are being ripped off. He also pointed out that Irish consumers are paying high food prices, but farmers are not getting the benefit.             ‘The latest Fine Gael survey of a shopping basket of beef, milk, eggs and a range of vegetables shows that the farmer gets €13.07 while the public are paying €31.31 on average, for the same basket in the supermarkets, an average margin of 139 percent.             ‘One of highest margins is on cauliflower which retails at an average of €1.55 a head while the farmer gets just 50c, a mark up of 210 percent from the farm gate to supermarket shelf. A kilo of carrots is marked up from the 58c that the farmer gets to an average of €1.65 paid by shoppers, a margin of 185 percent. A dozen of eggs is costing the public €3.55, a mark-up of almost 200 percent on the farmer’s price of €1.20.             ‘This basket of food mainly includes products which require little or no processing, yet between the farmer and the shopper, the products are being marked up by almost 140% on average. Superquinn claims the highest overall profit of 151% on the whole basket of goods. The retailer with the next highest overall mark-up was Dunnes, at 137 percent, followed by Tesco at 130 percent.             ‘Shoppers need to know why they are not getting a better deal and farmers deserve to know why they are not getting a fair price. Somebody is making huge profits from the Irish food market at the expense of both shoppers and farmers with the consequence that quality Irish food is being undermined and farmers are at risk of going out of business. Retailers, distributors and processors must come clean and explain how they can justify such mark-ups on basic food products.             ‘The public are prepared to pay a reasonable price for food products, provided that these products are safe and are produced to a high standard. This is what Irish farmers have traditionally offered to Irish shoppers and that is the role they should continue to fulfill in the future, provided they are guaranteed a fair price and livelihood. We must not allow our farmers to be forced out of existence by large multiples always seeking a lower bottom line from farmers while, at the same time, increasing their own margins at the expense of farmers and consumers.             ‘Fine Gael believes that a balance can be struck between the interests of farmers and shoppers, and the wider business community.’