Potato growers are getting less than one-fifth of the price a consumer pays for their product in the shop, a conference in Dublin today heard.
Speaking at the National Potato Conference in Dublin, IFA President Joe Healy outlined how retailers are taking the lion’s share of the margin on potatoes, while farmers bear all of the risk.
The conference organised by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) in association with Bord Bia and Teagasc, heard that pre-pack potatoes are retailing at up to €1,400 per tonne while growers receive less than one-fifth of that.
“Many potato growers are having to sell their crop for less than it costs to produce. That situation cannot be sustained; the price the farmer gets has to rise, just to cover storage costs alone. Retailers and packers have to wake up to that and act now if they want to have a potato industry in the future,” Joe Healy warned.
The IFA President said stronger retail regulation and an independent retail ombudsman are needed to ensure farmers get a fairer share of the retail price, and to support a sustainable food supply chain. He said it is important that the recommendations of the Agricultural Markets Task Force are implemented to bring greater transparency and fairness to the food chain.
“Growers make an investment of €60m each year to grow Ireland’s 22,000 acres of potato and ensure a top quality product is consistently available to packers, supermarkets, and the food service sector. In return, processors and retailers who rely on their product must return to them a fair price and stop undermining the market with surplus imports.”
Joe Healy said research to be presented at today’s conference will show just how important potatoes are to retailers. The Kantar Worldpanel figures show that when potatoes are included in the shopping basket, grocery trips are worth €27.90 more than average. Potatoes feature in one-in-ten shopping trips, and these trips contribute 23pc of all retail sales.
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