Half of Workers Laid-Off at Ireland's Ballymoney Foods

Published online: May 24, 2005
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Farmer owned Ballymoney Foods is to layoff half its workers at its frozen chips plant because of difficult market conditions.

It said a big crop in Europe and processing over-capacity had caused the problem.

"Low import prices have resulted in low raw mate
rial prices that are untenable for our own growers," the company, owned by a consortium of 64 potato farmers from Ireland and Northern Ireland, said in a statement.

"To be able to operate against imported competi
tion, Ballymoney Foods has had to take the difficult decision to review its cost base and plans for the future.

"The company, regrettably, announced a number
of redundancies across its workforce. It is hoped that the cost-cutting measure will put the business on a stronger financial footing, allowing it to compete more effectively going forward."

The company said it would proceed
with plans to invest in new products for next season.

farmer consortium last year bought the company from Glenfarm Holdings for 2.5 million pounds (US$1.38 million).

The Ulster Farmers'
Union said the layoffs exposed the realities of the UK food chain with retailers dominating and farmers and food processors facing ongoing price pressures.

"The company is a key out for the local potato," UFU president Campbell Tweed said. "Indeed potato growers have directly invested in the company to secure a future for their farm business.

"Despite this tremendous commitment from the local farming sector, the local company and local farmers find themselves being undercut by imported products."