Retailers are urged to aid Tipperary growers survive drought crisis

Tipperary Star reporter

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Retailers are urged to aid Tipperary growers survive drought crisis

IFA president Joe Healy

The small amounts of rain in recent days have done little to alleviate the stresses on farmers, according to IFA president Joe Healy. 

He said retailers had an important part to play in helping farmers cope with this extraordinarily difficult year.

“We now urge all other retailers to extend the approach taken by Musgraves on field vegetables to extend it to include other producers such farmers producing fresh milk,” he said.

Mr Healy pointed out that most retailers sold some fresh milk at prices as low as 65-67cpl, which was insufficient to cover the true cost of putting fresh milk on the supermarket shelf. 

“Unsustainable discounting of fresh food is wrong at any time, but it is particularly damaging when farmers are facing weather-related massively increased feed expenditure,” he said.

He said that Teagasc had predicted that the feed requirement of dairy cows could this year cost 75 per cent more than a normal year because of fodder shortages and the need to purchase additional fodder and feed. 

“If retailers are serious about securing supplies of fresh food, especially vegetables and fresh milk, they need to shoulder their part of responsibility for supporting producers in this exceptionally difficult year, and cease playing with fresh food pricing to gain short term market share at farmers’ expense,” the IFA president said.