FAIRNESS FOR Farmers in Europe has called on the multiple retailers currently experiencing a boom in business across the British Isles to pass those additional revenues down the supply chain to farmers, and return farm gate prices to at least pre-Covid 19 levels.

A spokesperson for the pressure group stated: “The large corporate supermarkets and processors went into this pandemic in an already strong position whereas in the case of family farmers, approximately only 20% remain profitable despite the fact they are consistently delivering a high quality sustainable product and continue to do so during the Covid-19 crisis. Today, as it stands, with the food service sector operating at a very limited level, the food chain is re-adjusting and farm families have taken the brunt of this despite the fact that retail sales have rocketed further enhancing the profits of the large corporate retailers.

"At farm level, the current position is that lamb prices fell dramatically a few weeks back and have only partly recovered, beef prices have slumped from an already unsustainable price to a new low, some small dairies are in financial trouble and in general, farm gate milk prices have seen a substantial reduction for March milk," said FFE. "This has all happened at a time when consumer prices have moved up so who is getting the increased margin?"

This position was not sustainable, said FFE, which called on all corporate retailers to return stronger prices down the food supply chain to address falling producer prices. FFE has also requested a meeting with the UK Retail Consortium and Retail Ireland to put the case for 'financial fairness to farmers' which does not take advantage of the family farm structure across the UK and Ireland.

Bodies affiliated to FFE include Farmers For Action, the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, Manx NFU, the National Beef Association and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association