A RISE IN MEAT AND DAIRY IS ‘ALREADY STARTING TO HAPPEN’, according to Ireland’s agricultural advisory and research body, as the world scrambles to readjust its markets amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Trevor Donnellan, Head of Economics and Investigations at Teagasc, made the comments while speaking to The newspaperThe Explainer podcast on food security in Ireland.
Donnellan said Ireland can expect to see higher prices for products that use the main grains produced by Ukraine, such as wheat, maize and barley, as well as products made from rapeseed and sunflower seeds.
“So if wheat prices go up, it will eventually lead to higher prices for wheat-containing foods, the most obvious being bread.”
He said that due to the “dramatic” increase in the cost of grain used to test farm animals, as well as an increase in the cost of fertilizers and fuel, there would be a ripple effect on the meat and dairy prices, as farmers face “substantially” higher costs to produce these products.
“It’s already starting to happen,” he said. “You would have already seen, for example, an increase in certain food products in supermarkets and this will continue during the year.”
Agri-food price increases are expected to rise “in a chain” – grain prices will rise first, followed by chicken, pork, dairy and, finally, beef and lamb.
Asked if Ireland will experience food shortages, Donnellan said: ‘I’m not sure we’re going to see food shortages in our part of the world.’
How we will see that manifest in higher prices. And those higher prices are themselves a problem because if you have a lower income, even though the food may be there in the store, you may not be able to afford it.
He said low-income people are likely to say they are unable to afford certain items, adding that intervention may be needed later in the year.
ESRI said earlier this week household disposable incomes in Ireland are set to fall this year in real terms for the first time in a decade, with consumer prices rising at their fastest pace since the early 1980s. .
After previously predicting consumer price inflation of 4% this year, the Dublin-based think tank now expects prices to rise by an average of 6.7%.
However, rising grain costs are expected to hit developing countries hardest.
Jim Clarken, chief executive of Oxfam Ireland, said that in responding to the invasion of Ukraine, we must respond to its effects on the global food system, which “will reverberate around the world, hitting the most vulnerable people. poorest and most vulnerable the hardest and fastest”. ”.
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“Rising food prices are a hammer blow for millions of people who are already suffering from multiple crises and make the huge aid gap life-threatening,” he said.
For more on what food security is, whether Ireland could diversify what we grow here, and Ukraine’s importance as a food exporter, listen here:
Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud
With reporting by Michelle Hennessy and Nicky Ryan.