Department backs ‘producer-marketer groups’ at IFRG meeting

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has given its backing to a proposal to set up ‘producer-marketer groups’.

The proposal was put forward by Donie Shine, national chairman of the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group (IFRG) and debated at a meeting in Ennis, Co. Clare last Thursday (February 21).

Speaking at the IFRG’s Suckler Farming Crisis Meeting, Valerie Woods, an official in the department, promoted the establishment of beef producer organisations.

In 2016, the department initiated legislation and funding to allow for the establishment of producer groups.

Shine argued that such groups would “represent its members’ interests not only by collectively negotiating price with meat processing factories through supply facilitation, but by collectively negotiating price through involving itself in the own-branding and marketing of its members’ produce.”

He also outlined how the groups would operate, both on local and national level.

“Local producer-marketer groups would be set up to serve a local-level catchment area, each with its own unique selling point and branding, which could avail of the marketing and sales functions of a national-level umbrella agency,” explained Shine.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Liadh Ni Riada and Sean Kelly were also in attendance at the meeting, and both welcomed the move, agreeing that it was a step forward in securing better prices for farmers.