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Large supermarkets driving down farm incomes

28 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris, has accused the major supermarkets of helping to drive down farm incomes by refusing to pay farmers an adequate price for their produce. Deputy Ferris made specific reference to statistics that reveal the massive difference between the price paid to farmers for apples, and the price charged to consumers.

Deputy Ferris said:

"According to statistics given to me by the Department of Agriculture, the average price per kilo paid to farmers for their apples last year was 39c. In December 2003, the average price per kilo in the supermarkets was €2.16. That represents a 554% mark up! That is an outrageous difference and it is one that to a lesser or greater extent is repeated across all areas of food production. The figures also show that the average price paid to farmers has fallen by 23% since 1995. It is no wonder that many farmers are finding it difficult to survive.

"While the supermarkets capture a larger share of the market, and are able to dictate terms in this way, neither the farmer nor the consumer is benefiting. It is significant indeed that the smaller greengrocer and fruitseller was charging 24c per kilo less than the supermarkets at the end of last year. It is clear that the power of the multiples needs to be tackled. It is all the more worrying therefore that the Tánaiste Mary Harney continues to refuse to state that she will maintain the ban on below cost selling, the abolition of which is a key demand of the multiples." ENDS

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