Fianna Fáil Agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó’Cuív has called for the introduction of a regulator for the beef industry.
The call comes after recent concerns about the collapse of the bull beef prices and their effect on farmers. Some bull beef calfs were being sold for as little as €2.
Ó’Cuív reminded that the beef sector is an integral part of the Irish Agri-Food industry and is worth €2bn a year to the economy. He said, “Over the past 12 months we have witnessed a collapse in bull beef prices with factories shifting the goal posts on producers. Beef producers are being penalised by processors who are changing specifications of age and weight and refusing to slaughter cattle. This has caused prices to plummet. In fact, the traditional winter premium has completely disappeared.”
Minister Ó’Cuív said that if the government is serious about achieving the Food Harvest 2020 targets for the beef industry and protecting the national herd it needs to establish a beef regulator to balance the powers of processors and retailers.
“What we need now is a regulator to oversee the industry. They should be entrusted with ensuring that a small handful of processors are not allowed to unfairly dominate the market. The regulator needs to be given real powers and resources to oversee the sector and to make direct recommendations to government,” Ó’Cuív commented.
He further added that the regulator could also examine the possibility of establishing a code of conduct for retailers, which he believes are a vital link in the food chain. Ó’Cuív made the comments in advance of last weekend’s Ard Fheis.
Representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc and the Livestock Exporters Association are before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine today to to consider the policy steps necessary to mitigate the current crisis.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson