A special ISK 100 million (UDS 874,000, EUR 840,000) marketing effort is planned to bring 800-1,000 tons of Icelandic lamb to market abroad, according to the Icelandic government’s budget bill that is being reviewed in parliament, RÚV reports. The marketing effort abroad is planned “due to foreseeable increase in stock,” which could cause turmoil or a general price reduction on the domestic market the latter part of winter and/or next fall, according to the bill.
The plan is described as a temporary solution, but a long-time plan for the sale of lamb, domestically and abroad, is said to be in the making. The bill explains that lamb meat has been selling at a great loss.
This approach appalls Ólafur Arnarson, head of the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, according to RÚV. “The sight of this, naturally, makes you flabbergasted,” Ólafur remarked. Here you have Icelandic authorities spending more to keep prices up in Iceland. You wonder, is this specifically for farmers? Probably not.” He added, “Isn’t this just for some middlemen?”
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson insists the marketing plan is meant to defend the economic interest of farmers. He explained that Norwegians, who have been purchasing 600 tons of lamb a year from Iceland, no longer plan to buy Icelandic lamb. Therefore, 800-1,000 tons could accumulate. “If nothing is done,” Gunnar Bragi stated, “that accumulation of stock will eventually lead to lower earnings for farmers, because a drop in prices will certainly mean a lower income for them.”