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Sheep Farmers at the Mercy of the Market

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Sheep Farmers at the Mercy of the Market

Sheep Farmer

Photo: Golli.

Chairperson of the Icelandic Sheep Farmers Association Oddný Steina Valsdóttir says sheep farmers need better tools to respond when market conditions change. Oddný said in a radio interview that the industry still faces operational problems, but the government could take measures to resolve the situation faster.

Overproduction of lamb last year led to lower prices and a surplus of meat at the end of summer. One government proposal suggested decreasing the number of sheep in the country by as much as 20%, potentially leading to even heavier losses for farmers.

Oddný says farmers want to have tools to regulate production themselves, in order to better manage market fluctuations. “The situation today is that the production, sale, and pricing of sheep products is free at all levels. We believe it is important that contracts include some sort of tools so it is possible to respond and the industry can itself respond by creating incentives to reduce production if the situation is such,” Oddný says.

The association met with the Minister of Agriculture to review farming contracts last week. Oddný expressed disappointment that the government does not plan to amend the contract in the near future “but there is a willingness to sit at the negotiating table and hopefully something comes out of that.”

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