Commenting on the submission by the CCPC (The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food & Marine in relation to the beef sector, the President of ICMSA has said that the proposal from the CCPC in relation to a sector specific body to regulate the beef sector certainly has merit but only if it has sufficient powers to address what Pat McCormack said were the fundamental problems that were continuing to undermine in the sector, the absolutely key one of which he identified as being the inadequate price being paid to farmers for their cattle. Mr. McCormack said that every debate around this issue pointed directly back to the inability of farmers to make a realistic margin for their produce. He said that ICMSA was not averse to an all-encompassing body that would look at all the issues feeding into the present demoralised state of the beef sector, but he said that such a development would have to include the question of minimum and maximum prices, the lack of which, he said, were unquestionably the starting point for many of the sector’s problems.
“Farmer are seeing more and more demands being imposed on them and the reality is that farmers cannot be expected to meet the financial costs of these increasingly demands without an improved return from the marketplace. A sector specific body would have to be given powers in relation to setting minimum and maximum prices – as seen in the energy sector, for example – otherwise it could simply turn into another useless quango or talking shop of the type that, we regret to say, the Beef Forum became. If we’re in earnest about discussing the problems of the beef sector, and the record will show that ICMSA has been identifying system flaws in our beef sector for many decades, then we have to talk about all the problems and the top of the list, as far as we’re concerned, is the inability or unwillingness of the system to provide any kind of realistic returns to the farmers on whom the whole multi-billion Euro sector actually rests. The CCPC proposal deserves consideration, but it must have real power and a real determination to look at all the problems starting with who’s getting what out of the vast amounts of swirling around the sector”, concluded Mr. McCormack.
Ends 5 June 2019.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office