– but he must review “utterly dysfunctional” beef trade
Responding to the comments made to Agriland by the Minister’s representative, ICMSA President, Pat McCormack, said that no-one expected the Minister to intervene on the setting of beef price but farmers “were perfectly entitled to expect the Minister to examine critically an utterly lop-sided beef trade that had placed all the advantages on the side of factories and then retailers, while all the burden – regulatory and costs – fell on the farmers.”
Mr. McCormack said that it was far too easy for people to throw up their hands and try and categorise the present chaos within the Irish beef sector as the market ‘working itself out’ or some signal of the underlying anxiety caused by the increasingly likely prospect of losing our biggest market in 90-odd days. The truth, said Mr. McCormack, is that even if both of those emergencies were resolved in the morning the flaws and defects that are built into the sector would ensure that we’d be back here again in six months or sooner.
“With all due respect to Minister Creed and his office, everyone knows that it’s not his job to set beef price and no-one – certainly not ICMSA – is asking him to do that. But there are very specific things he can and should do that might restore some confidence to a sector. For a start, he needs to ensure that a strong live export market is actually in place and functioning for heavier cattle and that a Brexit compensation package for all farmers involved in beef production is in place for the losses being suffered today and since May. He can also ensure that the BEAM is amended to allow all farmers the option to apply and that the ‘add-on’ regulations in BEAM are eliminated”, said Mr. McCormack
“No-one is asking Minister Creed to set prices but ICMSA doesn’t think it was too much to ask him to address the issues of concern that are under his remit and he certainly can do something in relation to Brexit losses, BEAM and live exports. He could also set up a review that would at least ask why everyone else – besides the factory owners and corporate retailers – cannot make any kind of margin on a multi-billion euro sector”, said the ICMSA President.
Ends 6 August 2019
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758 – ICMSA Press Office