By Sean Moriarty
Beef famers from the county staged a one-day protest outside Tesco Killarney on Saturday last.
The protest was organised by Beef Plan Movement who were highlighting to the public that the Irish beef farmer is not in receipt of a fair percentage of the retail share on all beef sold in Tesco.
The Beef Movement Plan say it wants to educate shoppers going into stores that for every €10 they spend on beef, the farmer only sees €2 of that, for over two years’ work, while retailers and processors take €8 for three days work.
The chair of the Kerry branch of the Beef Plan Movement, Dermot O’Brien, runs a beef farm in Firies.
“At the moment retailers have a very strong position of determining how they control the price for farmers per kilo of beef,” he said.
One of the main points of contention is that Tesco and other retailers use a Quality Pricing System to determine the cost price of beef.
Criteria like the age of the cow or bull, the number of times it has been moved between farms and marts (four is maximum) and if the animal is a heifer or steer, all effect the wholesale price of beef. Retailers maintain that these checks are demanded by consumers but farmers argue that shoppers would not know that these checks were in place.
Part of Saturday’s protest was to survey shoppers on their knowledge of the QPS system. O’Brien added that the farmers have 200 completed surveys that they will now study.