The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is supporting the establishment of producer organisations aimed at giving farmers collectively more bargaining power when dealing with meat processors, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Drivetime this evening, Friday, August 30, the minister said:

“What we recognise that in the supply chain, the farmer individually is in a weak position.

What we are doing in my department is supporting financially the establishment of producer organisations, because when we met last week, one of the criticisms was that we couldn’t discuss price.

“And I accept, for somebody looking in from the outside, that looks a glaring weakness – legally we can’t.”

The minister said that, during stakeholder discussions with the Beef Plan Movement, the farmer representative group recognised that he couldn’t get involved with pricing. Continuing, he said:

“One of the things that they want, which we are facilitating, is the establishment of producer organisations – which gives farmers collectively more power to negotiate with processors.

We [will] support producer organisations financially – and we are prepared to look at additional supports to get these producer organisations up and running.

“Rather than being a price taker when you rock up outside any one of the meat plants on any given day, that collectively, through producer organisations, that they can negotiate the issue of price – which I can’t do,” Minister Creed concluded.