Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and Stormont Agriculture Committee Chairman William Irwin MLA has said supermarkets must recognise the plight of vegetable growers and offer a fair price for their product which reflects the cost of production.
Mr Irwin was speaking following recent publicity surrounding the prices paid to vegetable growers.
He said: “Vegetable producers are facing an uphill struggle with supermarkets expecting growers to simply “take what they get” in terms of pricing, however as with other production sectors, this totally ignores the reality of the actual cost of producing the vegetables.”
He added: “Supermarkets need to understand the pressure on growers at this time and respond favourably in order to allow the vegetable sector to sustain itself. Growers have given a very stark warning that they cannot continue in this cycle of poor pricing and the fact remains that much more needs to be done to assist growers in getting a fair price for their product.
“The big supermarkets are holding the sector to ransom and that I feel is unethical and it is poor form on their behalf to ignore the plight of growers.
“Growers have taken every reasonable step possible to streamline their operations and be as efficient as possible in order to reduce production costs.”