Meat Industry Ireland has been accused of completely disregarding the recent roundtable agreement by ICSA Beef Chairman Edmond Phelan.

Phelan says it seems quite clear that meat processors have no intention of abiding by the recent agreement.

“They are ignoring the commitment to end dual pricing and are showing total disregard for the roundtable process,” Phelan said.

“Once again the factories are showing their clear disdain for the primary producer, the farmer on whom their business depends. How can farmers be expected to have any confidence in this process when factories obviously don’t take it seriously?”

“Factories have also been dragging their feet on expanding the Quality Assured bonus to include all steers and heifers and to date there has been no engagement with farmers on this.”

The ICSA comments come following a Meat Industry Ireland (MII) statement today which said that changes to the Quality Assured bonus must not see farmers who are supplying in-spec animals being dis-incentivised.

An agreed outcome from the Roundtable is the implementation of a targeted, cost neutral price incentive for all steers and heifers (which do not already qualify for the in-spec bonus) from Quality Assured (QA) farms with effect from January 1, it says.

Speaking in relation to this QA incentive, MII Chairman, Ciaran Fitzgerald, advised that MII members are exploring the various potential cost-neutral options available.

“Any cost-neutral incentive will essentially involve a re-distribution of existing funds which makes the exercise very challenging. MII members are aiming to meet the January 1 commitment but at the same time it is important that the outcome ensures that those producers, who are supplying in-spec animals which meet the market requirements, are being sufficiently incentivised.

“It is essential that any policies in relation to Irish beef production must ultimately focus on the ongoing marketability of Irish beef,” he said.