Why are food prices climbing while farmers get less pay

WITH feed prices rising and milk and beef prices tumbling, farmers here are experiencing the first hand impact of Covid-19. 
Members of the farming community have shared concerns about the origin of meat appearing on the shelves of supermarkets at a time when fields here are full of spring lamb and winter beef, ready to leave farms and head to factories. 
Local councillor and part-time farmer Sheamus Greene said he felt some organisations were using the current situation to “beat prices down”.
“The price of beef has went down to the farmer, but it has went up in the supermarkets and there are loads of beef being imported from Poland and Brazil. The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me. Whether it’s the big factories or the supermarkets, someone is making a killing out of this and that just isn’t right.” 
Due to current restrictions many farmers here have been unable to sell livestock as they normally would.
“Farmers are left without the marts and most farmers in county Fermanagh are working in less favoured ground areas. Suckler cow farmers may well have kept their calves over the winter and would aim to sell them at this time of the year which in turn helps with costs of silage making. But there’s not the same access to markets now and they can’t put those cattle out because they haven’t the land.”
 Mr Greene added that there was little talk at a government level about the plight of farmers and  criticised the slowness of action in the North to provide clarity and support available to farmers. He added that he was “pretty disappointed” at the way farmers here had been treated at the minute highlighting cross border differences in the industry. “For years, if not decades, farmers in the South have been treated far better than those in the North, or in Britain. Farmers here in comparison to the South are treated like second class citizens, and that’s the reality of it.” 
Calling for support to be made available he said, “Money is running out and cattle still have to be fed, farmers just can’t invent more fields to graze the cattle that they wintered and were now intending to sell.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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