The livestock industry needs commitment from retailers - not
kind words - to secure the immediate future of beef and lamb
producers says the NFU.
Many farmers are currently subsidising beef and lamb production
because the price they are paid at the farm gate is around 15-25
per cent below their actual production costs. And with input prices
set to rise, the NFU is calling on retailers to demonstrate genuine
commitment to their supplying farmers by beginning the process
of moving prices towards sustainable levels.
NFU livestock board chairman Thomas Binns said: “I'm sorry to
say that too many of our partners in the supply chain are not prepared
to share the risk. Instead it's just easier for them to talk the talk
and then pass the risk back down to the farmer.
“Nobody whom we've spoken to in the trade disagrees that the current
returns to farmers are untenable but unfortunately nobody is prepared
to do anything about it.”
At their board meeting last week, NFU livestock representatives agreed
the prospects in the medium term were very positive. However the immediate
challenge was to overcome the difficult financial situation that most
livestock farmers were currently facing.
Mr Binns said: “We need a retail champion to come forward and
put its money where its mouth is. Some of the retailers are very good
at telling us what customers want but then behave very differently.
“We cannot continue to ignore the fact that many livestock farmers
are currently struggling to make ends meet as the supply chain adjusts
to this new market-driven environment.
“It is absolutely essential that retailers and the supply chain
provide farmers with the confidence to continue producing what customers
want – home-reared beef and lamb.”
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