IFA: Retailers have to pass back immediate price increase to potato growers
23 March 2023
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has questioned the viability of continuing to supply the retail sector with potatoes without a price increase.
Commercial potato growers are facing increase in land rental, fertiliser, fuel and storage costs, and fears that many potato farmers will be forced out of business are mounting.
IFA president Tim Cullinan has said an immediate price increase is needed for potato growers to offset rising input costs.
Following the National Potato Growers’ meeting, which took place in Dublin 15 March, Cullinan said the current wholesale price to farmers is not covering the full cost of production and storage of potatoes.
“All in the chain have to work to deliver a price increase, but there is a clear responsibility on the retailers, in particular, to return a sustainable margin to growers,” he said.
“The anger and frustration from the floor last night is a direct result of retailer dominance in the marketplace. This dominant position has been one of the main causes of the continuing contraction of our horticulture sector.”
Cullinan continued: “The average rate of food inflation rose by 16.3% last year. However, the retail price of potatoes only increased by 1.4%. The new Food Regulator must be established without further delay,” he said.
Potato farmers are exporting potatoes to Portugal and Holland at the moment as they cannot afford to continue to store their crops at a loss.
Meanwhile, IFA National Potato Chairman Sean Ryan has said the upcoming potato season is hanging in the balance because of a broken food chain and warned that many potato farmers will be forced out of business unless the packers and retailers are willing to increase returns to their farmer suppliers.