Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture today, IFA President Joe Healy said IFA has calculated that beef farmers have already incurred Brexit losses of €101m since last Autumn. “Farmers cannot afford to carry this loss and it must be made good by the Government & EU Commission. We have already put this to Minister Creed and we are looking for the support of the Agriculture Committee,” he said.
Outlining the key points in the IFA Submission, Joe Healy said the FoodWise 2025 strategy has failed to address the income crisis for beef farmers and will have to be revisited.
“While the strategy has delivered substantial growth in the volume and value of beef output, it has not worked for farmers,” he said. Looking at data over the last seven years, beef exports have increased by €360m or 19%, but there has been no increase in cattle prices or farm incomes.
Joe Healy said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the Government must address the income crisis at farm level, and implement policies which will deliver profitability to beef and livestock farmers.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said these policies have to be based on returning a beef price to farmers above the costs of production; securing a premium price for a quality product; delivering a fairer share of the consumer price back to the farmer; a strong CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) with targeted direct payments; and ensuring that the European and Irish beef sector are not undermined with sub-standard South American beef imports.
He asked the Committee & the Minister for Agriculture to request the intervention of the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to carry out a report on the lack of competition in the beef processing sector.
In order to bring transparency to the sector, IFA has commissioned economist Jim Power to conduct an independent investigation into the impact of CAP policy; margins along the food supply chain; the value from all parts of the animal; the possibility of devising a formula for a beef price index; and costs of production at farm level.