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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that a Eurostat survey has revealed that Irish food prices in 2009 were the second highest in the EU. “At the same time that Irish food prices are high, farmers have been hit by very difficult market conditions in the past year with farm incomes decreasing. A report from Teagasc last month confirmed that farm incomes in 2009 fell by 30% from 2008 figures and in 2008, farm income had already taken a 10% decrease.”
“While food prices are high, it seems that the retailers are the only ones who are gaining from it – the house holder buying the food and the farmer selling the food are both losing out. We are still waiting on the government to introduce a supermarket ombudsman to ensure fairness and transparency in this sector. Tesco, Superquinn and Lidl are opposed to an ombudsman for the supermarket sector as they claim that it would result in an increase in the cost of food for the consumer.” Dr. Twomey acknowledged that there are high costs for doing business in Ireland such as water rates, insurance and electricity but the concern is that excessive profits are being taken.”
Dr. Twomey said that the main point is that farmers’ prices are below the EU average while the food costs are one of the highest in Europe. ”Why is this case in Ireland? This discrepancy in the farmers’ price and the end user cost cannot be allowed to continue. For example the supermarkets currently charge milk at 6 times the cost paid to farmers. We in Fine Gael have published proposals that will bring a level of transparency and hence protection for farmers in a supermarket sector that is shrouded in secrecy and in poor business practices and we will continue to put pressure on the government to improve the situation.”

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