Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, told the 12th meeting of the Beef Roundtable that, “we really need to reflect on the broad issues impacting on the sector and how best to respond”.
The Minister acknowledged that this year, in particular, has been a difficult year for the agriculture sector in terms of weather and the range of challenges associated with it.
Minister Creed noted in the current challenging times it is all the more important for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency.
“I urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development”, the Minister said.
“The farmer position in the supply chain must be secured if we are to build a sector for the future.”
Minister Creed stressed that increasing our share of international markets is an ongoing priority. Ireland is a significant net exporter of beef, and needs to grow and develop new markets, particularly as a hedge against the threats posed by Brexit, with almost 50% of Irish beef exports going to the UK market.
Referring to the need for increased price transparency, Minister Creed said that he had asked Bord Bia to conduct a detailed examination of market dynamics, with the cooperation of the industry, taking into account sales of particular cuts into particular segments of the market.
“One of the unique strengths the agri-food sector has is our shared vision for the sustainable development of the sector in Food Wise 2025. Having input from all sides of the agri-food supply chain, along with the Department and State agencies, in strategy formation and implementation, is crucial, whether at the Food Wise High-Level Implementation Committee, or in stakeholder forums such as this one. I hope that this engagement will continue.”
The Beef Roundtable included discussions on the potential for producer organisations and the development of new technologies as ways of adding value along the whole supply chain. The Beef Roundtable also heard updates on the new CAP post-2020, and the market outlook for 2019.
While most major players in the agricultural industry attended the even, large farmer organisations such as the IFA and the ICMSA both refused to attend, with the former electing to stage protests outside the event and the latter claiming that it ‘will never cross a farmer picket line’.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.