77% of farmers want more than one supplier of cattle tags to the state
Some 77% of farmers who responded to an Agriland poll believe that there should be more than one supplier of cattle tags in Ireland.
The Department of Agriculture is currently tendering for a single supplier of cattle tags to the state. Currently, Mullinahone Co-op in Co. Tipperary holds the multi-million euro contract.
However, the decision to issue a tender for a single supplier has been met with criticism from the ICSA.
According to ICSA President Patrick Kent, competition is the best way of ensuring value for money for farmers when it comes to ordering cattle tags.
However, the Department has said that the policy of seeking a single supplier has been endorsed by the main farming organisations (IFA and ICMSA) on the basis that a single supplier, selected on the basis of a competitive tender and benefitting from economies of scale, is likely to make bovine tags available to herd keepers at a competitive price.
A second poll by Agriland found that 63% of farmers aren’t happy with the quality of the current cattle tags that are supplied by the state.
“Price is an important factor but so too is durability as the cost of replacing tags has to be considered.
“We have seen the risk associated with losing tags, with farmers having to face heavy penalties.
“It is for these reasons that choice, durability and cost all need to be factored in. Competition is the best way of ensuring value for money for farmers,” Kent said.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, last week confirmed that legal issues have been raised in relation to the tender and these issues are now being examined by the Department in consultation with its legal advisers.
He said that the Department has decided to extend the closing date for the receipt of tenders for a short period.