The Fianna Fail spokesman on agriculture told Agriland that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney needs to address the issues with the State, as an all-island issue and also at European level.
While he supports the initiative, he said Ireland needs to deal with the nomad cattle issue immediately. “It seems to be an issue for the UK and Ireland, but is not an issue in Europe – cattle can move freely between France and Germany and it’s not an issue.”
He said he has looked into getting PGI status for Irish beef – whereby ‘Irish beef’ would be a protected food name. “That would seem to be a possible way forward. However, what is important is that northern-born cattle can be sold in the UK under the ‘Red Tractor’ label or as Irish beef. But, we need to eliminate the ‘nomad’ status, so it’s either Irish or British.”
He also said the must become much more supportive of live exports. “We need a robust live export trade on a continuous basis as a form of competition to the factories. We know what happens when a small number of private players are the main players. The Minster also needs to work on export credits and ensure that marts and marts and owners of livestock are not put at credit risk. Our marts or farmers cannot be at risk or we can’t have a proper live export trade.”
He called on Bord Bia to carry out a consume survey in the UK to see if consumers there are really willing to pay more for UK beef over Irish beef.