The beef forum is failing farmers - Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesman Martin Kenny TD, challenged Minister Michael Creed TD in the Dáil today on the low prices that farmers, specifically beef farmers, receive for their produce.
Deputy Kenny was asking about the new BEEPS scheme for suckler farmers which will mean that farmers must weigh their animals to qualify for payment.
The Sligo-Leitrum TD said:
“Perhaps the Minister will give more detail on how farmers will manage that. It is a problem for farmers in many areas.
"The bigger issue for the suckler and beef sector is the price the farmer gets. That must be dealt with.
"Currently prices are very low for beef when it goes to the factory and that has a knock-on effect all the way back down to the weanling in the market.
“The Minister spoke about producer organisations being one of the answers to this issue, and perhaps they are.
"However, in the past, most emphasis was placed on reducing the cost to the farmer of producing the product.
"That emphasis needs to switch towards improving the price for the farmer. I strongly believe we need to get that right.
“The beef forum in that context has failed Irish farmers in securing an enhanced price.
"While I understand marketing is under way and we are talking about getting into new markets in Kuwait and other countries around the world, farmers are not seeing an increased value for their product when they go to the mart to sell their weanlings in Leitrim or Cavan or when they fatten their animals and bring them to marts in the other end of the country.
"We need to see that happen."
Deputy Kenny added:
“The Minister says that neither he, or the Beef Forum, has a role in price setting, but the exchequer is paying for him and Bord Bía to market Irish beef worldwide, while the farmer struggles and the processors and retailers get the profit.
"That has to change and the minister would want to look to ensuring that the farmer gets a fair price for an excellent product.”