IFA President Eddie Downey told protesters at an IFA protest in Dundalk last Friday that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will have to remain centrally involved to ensure genuine progress is made in resolving the price and specification cuts that have so badly damaged confidence in the beef sector this year.
He called on Simon Coveney to convene and chair an immediate meeting between IFA and the meat factories in order to make progress in resolving the price and specification cuts that have so badly damaged confidence in the beef sector this year.
Eddie Downey warned that the anger and frustration among farmers over the beef crisis is growing and urgent and decisive action is required from minister Coveney.
The president said the minister met the factories and called for ‘positive engagement’ between processors and producers. He said IFA is committed to making progress, but minister Coveney needs to remain centrally involved and chair the engagement.
Eddie Downey said the factories must honour their agreement with farmers and restore the Quality Payment System without the new specification cuts around dual pricing, weight limits, breeds and additional cuts for age that were never part of the QPS. He said, “This is a basic issue which the Minister has to secure in order to address trust between factories and farmers”.
The IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said it is minister Coveney’s job to ensure that there is strong competition and real price transparency in the beef trade.
He said with beef prices in our main markets in the UK and across Europe now stabilised and recovering, it’s time the processors started to secure prices from the market place that restored viability and confidence to the sector.
He added a strong live export trade is essential for price competition and market outlets to keep a balance in the trade.
He said the Dowling report has recommended that the QPS be fully restored and that there must be additional contracts available to producers at viable prices.