The Chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Jer Bergin, addressed a protest by sixty Irish farmers at Lidl and Aldi stores in north Dublin in early March. He accused the supermarkets of hypocrisy for selling fresh produce below the cost of production while claiming to support Irish growers.
“I want to nail the lie that vegetables and potatoes can be sold way below cost without hurting Irish growers and ultimately driving them out of business. The use of below-cost selling as a tool to drive footfall seriously distorts the market for all Irish vegetables and ultimately undermines Irish production and the financial viability of our specialist growers.
“These growers have invested hugely in their farm businesses to supply Bord Bia Quality Assured Irish fresh produce for consumers. Their sustainability cannot be taken for granted,” he said.
Mr Bergin said the Government shouldn’t simply stand by and let retailers have uncurbed powers which damaged farmers and growers. He called for the establishment of an independent ombudsman to police retailers and enforce legislation.
He also pointed out that ironically in Germany, the headquarters of the two retailers, legislation exists which outlaws the practice of below-cost selling.