'Fair pricing legislation for farmers merits further consideration' - McAleer
Sinn Féin's MLA Declan McAleer has said that greater transparency and accountability in pricing is required urgently to protect the future of the farming industry across Ireland.
Speaking after meeting with representatives from Farmers For Action and NIAPA to discuss issues currently affecting the various agriculture sectors, Mr McAleer said,
"Most Agri-food sectors have fallen victim to market volatility in recent months. Dairy farmers have saw milk prices collapse to 17 pence per litre, well below the average cost of production.
“Meanwhile, beef and lamb has fallen by almost 15% from last year. Coupled with the significant price differential between here and Britain, farmers are struggling to earn a living.
"You only have to compare retail shelf prices and actual returns which farmers are being paid for their produce to get a sense of the concerning manipulation and exploitation at our farmers expense.
“The recent Gosling report references the proposal to legislate for minimum pricing which will effectively guarantee farmers a return well above production costs.
“I believe that this proposal merits further consideration in the time ahead.
"While I acknowledge the commitment of Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill in providing early farm payments in future, as well as her efforts to roll out the £250m Farm Business Improvement Scheme, we need real action from the Grocery Code Adjudicator to ensure our farmers are receiving a fair price for their produce.”