ICSA beef chairperson, Edmund Graham, has said farmers will not dream of co-operating with Bord Bia proposals to add more bureaucracy until such time as beef price gets back up to a viable level which is well in excess of €4/kg.
Mr Graham was commenting on reports that Bord Bia was planning a new farm climate credit scheme.
“Farmers have been led up a garden path with quality assurance and traceability which has failed to deliver a fair price,” he said.
“Farmers are in no mood for adding costs and complexity to a business which is losing money. In particular, there is outrage at the notion of linking profit monitors to the process when we are still waiting for transparency on processor and retailer margins.
“It is particularly galling to see profit monitors brought into the equation when everybody knows that farmers are losing a fortune while processors and retailers continue to profit.”
Mr Graham said farmers are unhappy about providing data for free and yet the data for processors and retailers is not so readily available.
“It is high time that state agencies realise that without the farmer, they would not exist. Yet they seem to think they are only answerable to meat processors,” he said.
“It is completely unacceptable to be planning to bring a whole new raft of added cost and pretend that this will give us competitive advantage when we know that the only competitive advantage that processors and retailers care about is squeezing the primary producer and cheapening our quality product.
“Until such time as beef goes back up to a viable price, there will be no co-operation with more red tape because farmers are in a battle to survive. This means reducing all unnecessary complications and costs, not signing up for a raft of new measures.”
Mr Graham also expressed disappointment that the farming organisation had to hear of this new proposal was via the media.
“This should have been brought to the Beef Taskforce which is rapidly heading towards irrelevance. Bord Bia needs to listen to the farmers who are funding it and ICSA is now calling for an immediate meeting of the Taskforce,” he said.
“The minister must insist that the Beef Taskforce is not side-lined any further.”