A “root and branch” review of the Origin Green programme run by Bord Bia has been called for by the Beef Plan Movement.

In a statement from the farm body earlier today, Friday, September 6, Beef Plan called for the programme to be put on hold “pending a farmer-led review of its effectiveness”.

The programme led by Bord Bia has its primary goal to be “sustainable food production”, the farm organisation noted.

However, while acknowledging the objective to be “well intentioned and admirable”, Beef Plan said that the objective has clearly “not delivered its way back to Irish beef farmers whose financial situation is completely unsustainable”.

The association’s statement also quoted Bord Bia financial figures for the cost of the scheme as being €2.91 million and €2.35 million for 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Teagasc has declared all beef suckling systems are loss making, and it beggars belief how anyone – not least a government agency like Bord Bia – can reference our high-quality beef as economically sustainable for farmers at this present time.

The Beef Plan statement said that the Origin Green programme “may have merits”; but called for a “complete critique review” and a “discussion around Bord Bia’s stewardship of the programme”.

The farm body underlined the importance of the sustainability of Ireland’s family farm model of beef production, stressing that this must be top priority for all industry stakeholders going forward.

“Teagasc figures show that current prices paid to farmers do not support the economics of beef farming, and despite the high quality of Irish beef produced by farmers across Ireland, they are expected to continue to support others in the agri-food sector by operating at a loss.

This is not sustainable, and the stakeholders, including: retailers; the food-service; meat processors; Government; and Bord Bia must show leadership now by demonstrating how they intend to support Irish family farms producing beef in the short and longer term.

“Full transparency would be a reasonable start,” the statement concluded.