Big Supermarket Chains Key To Ireland's Crisis

Published online: Jun 06, 2005
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Irish Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan said the country's big supermarket chains are one of the key reasons for the current crisis in the potato industry.

She told a potato conference that the need for higher standards was being driven by the multiples but these standards came at a cost that was mainly carried by the country's 730 commercial growers who produce 500,000 tonnes (551,156 tons) of potatoes a year.

The buying power was concentrated with five or six supermarket chains that controlled some 75 percent of the ware market.

"It is critical that growers are rewarded for production premium products or the hemorrhage from the sector will be further accelerated," she said.

The average Irish household bought about 190 kilograms (418 pounds) of fresh potatoes last year.