Bord Bia CEO welcomes ‘strong and robust’ POs for beef

The establishment of producer organisations (PO) for the Irish beef sector has been welcomed by the CEO of Bord Bia, who said they could be “robust and rewarding” for farmers.

Speaking to AgriLand at the Anuga food fair in Germany – which is taking place from October 5-9 – Tara McCarthy said that POs can have a “very, very powerful role” to play in the sector, by creating “scale” for farmers in negotiations with meat processors.

She added that POs could allow farmers to receive feedback from the market, and enable them to understand “the dynamics of the market that is impacting them”.

From that perspective it gives a very public forum. It gives a forum that is committed to transparency – an opportunity for farmers to escalate their issues and have them heard.

“They can have a very, very powerful role, in that they can look to create scale in the negotiations for farmers. [Farmers] can hear back from market information, and POs can be a very efficient route to give farmers feedback on what is happening in the market as well, and to give market signals,” McCarthy said.

The Bord Bia CEO, who is part of Ireland’s delegation at the world’s largest food fair in the west German city of Cologne, added that POs could create a “very robust and, in some ways perhaps, rewardable chain for loyalty”.

McCarthy cited the example of the mushroom sector, saying the POs have worked well in general there, but have also worked well with Bord Bia.

I could give the example of the mushroom sector, where you have very strong POs that work in partnership with the processors in that industry.

“We work very well with those organisations as well. It allows us to do joint promotions to ensure that their voices are heard in the designing of our promotions, etc,” she said.

McCarthy added: “We would welcome the opportunity to have a strong, robust PO system in Ireland and in our beef industry.”