We support these small-scale enterprises because we believe that a just and sustainable social order can only exist in which the ownership of property and the means of production, distribution and exchange are widespread. Whilst we are not a class-based organisation, the NLP – in particular – wishes to improve the material lot of the poorest and most disadvantaged.
As part of our support for small enterprises we stand in opposition to the vast economic, social and political power welded by the massive supermarket chains. We feel that unhindered, the supermarkets will be able to squeeze small retailers out of business altogther. This will be unhealthy in the extreme.
Another reason why we oppose the massive supermarket chains is because they pay their suppliers peanuts and then charge what they want for the produce supplied.
A case in point was recently highlighted in a brief report by the Irish Independent. Here, Irish farmers (organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association – IFA) had taken to mounting pickets outside various large retail outlets in Co Kerry and Co Galway.
The IFA protest concerns the drop in prices paid by factories for lamb. But the Irish farmers lay the blame for this at the doors of the big retailers like Dunnes Stores, Tesco and SuperValu.
According to farmer Kevin O’Sullivan, they are paid €4.80/kg for their lamb at the factory, but Dunnes are selling the end product – gigot chops – at €16.89/kg. To illustrate the drop in income, Mr O’Sullivan noted that:
“The price we’re getting fell from €6.50/kg at Easter down to €4.80/kg now and every year it’s the same story and we cannot survive at these prices.”
We agree with the IFA that all farmers should be paid a viable price for their produce. At the moment they are getting a raw deal.
Their plight illustrates that the large supermarkets can dictate prices to suit themselves. This is against the interests of both farmers and the general public. As usual, the only ones who profit from this are the supermarkets themselves.
• Check out the web-site of the Irish Independent here: http://www.independent.ie/
• Check out the web-site of the Irish Farmers’ Association here: http://www.ifa.ie/
Date: August 23, 2014