The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney defended the success of the Beef Forum from recent criticism of its effectiveness

The Minister was before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday in advance of a key Council of Ministers meeting to be held later in the month.

He stated in the meeting that: “It would be unrealistic that just because of I set up a beef forum, it is automatically going to start setting the price of beef. What determines the price of beef is the market and also the share of the margin that each link in the supply chain gets.

“My job is to ensure that farmers are protected in that chain. Because the others are quite frankly big enough to look after themselves.”

Minister Coveney added: “The Beef forum is the first time a government has put in place a structure that allows each of the players to come together. We have had blunt and direct discussions and decisions have already been taken that are in my view beneficial for the beef sector.”

“It is important to say that beef prices in the UK have dramatically reduced as well in recent weeks. We will continue to work on this and in my view both meetings of the forum to date have been useful. Most of the players involved would share that view.”

The Minister stressed: “The reason why this forum is needed is to get past rumours and accusations and megaphone diplomacy. Farm leaders are sticking up for their members and processors are sticking up for their sector. But there has been no communication to solve issues of mutual concern.”