ICSA: No justification for Irish cattle producers being €150/hd down on their northern counterparts

Third meeting of the Beef Taskforce

Longford Leader Reporter

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ICSA: No justification for Irish cattle producers being €150/hd down on their northern counterparts

ICSA: No justification for Irish cattle producers being €150/hd down on their northern counterparts

The third meeting of the Beef Taskforce took place on Thursday, June 25 by video conference.

The Beef Taskforce members had previously been provided with a written update on the work of the Taskforce in May.

The Beef Taskforce was established by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D., on foot of the agreement of September 15, 2019.

Minister Creed commented, “Substantial progress has been made in the delivery of commitments under the beef sector agreement. Work on the actions to be implemented under the beef sector agreement has been ongoing throughout the pandemic and I am pleased to see that engagement between stakeholders can still progress notwithstanding the current restrictions on physical meetings.” 

The Minister added “I am encouraged to hear of the progress on the Market Transparency studies by Grant Thornton, as transparency is essential to maintaining mutually beneficial relationships across the supply chain to secure the future of Irish beef.”

At Thursday's meeting, Bord Bia presented on the current market situation as well as providing an update on the progress of the draft application to the EU Commission for PGI Status for Irish grass fed beef.

Agreed minutes and relevant update documents will be published on DAFM’s website as soon as possible HERE 

Meanwhile, ICSA president Edmond Phelan insisted at the Beef Taskforce meeting that a suckler based application for EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is the only realistic option.

“ICSA wants to see segmentation of the market whereby suckler beef is developed as a special high value product. Any proposal that excludes suckler young bulls but would include 10-year-old dairy cows is unworkable,” he said.

Mr Phelan said there were many questions yet be to be answered around the ownership rights associated with a suckler brand or PGI status, given that it depends on farmers’ data and work.

“ICSA is insisting that primary producers must own the PGI status; Bord Bia cannot own it if they are the auditor. The whole concept of PGI means it cannot be owned by multinational industry,” he said.

Thursday's meeting of the Beef Taskforce by video conference comes on the back of repeated requests from ICSA to reconvene the group amid the crisis in the sector brought about by Covid-19.

 ICSA also raised the issue of the price differential between cattle sold in the north of Ireland as opposed to the Republic. “There can be no justification for Irish producers being €150/hd down on their northern counterparts.”

 “An update was given from Grant Thornton on the status of their report into Competition Law as it relates to the Beef Sector. While we await this report, ICSA remains in no doubt that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is not fit for purpose. Further commissioned reports on Market and Customer Requirements and the Price Composition of the Total Value of the Animal along the Supply Chain are also in train but require additional cooperation from all relevant stakeholders.” Mr Phelan said.

ICSA reiterated the urgency of reopening the Chinese market to Irish beef. “This market has been closed since May 22. There has been ample time to sort out this procedural matter and more must be done to speed up the process,” Mr Phelan said.