First of Grant Thornton’s draft reports circulated to beef taskforce members

A draft of the first of three reports by professional services firm Grant Thornton that were commissioned by the Beef Market Taskforce has been presented to taskforce members, AgriLand understands.

This report is on competition law as it relates to the beef sector, while the other two reports which are still in the works are on market and customer requirements relating to in-spec bonuses; and the price composition of animals along the supply chain.

It is understood that the draft report examines competition law in Ireland, and the roles and responsibilities of various actors in enforcing competition law in the beef sector.

It is understood that the report affirms the position that there is no role in the legislation reviewed for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in determining prices for agricultural products.

It also states that it remains unclear what role the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) will have in implementing the EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices.

The report examined competition law as it relates to three specific areas: the role of the CCPC; producer organisations (POs); and co-operatives.

On the CCPC, the report seemingly examined the relevant competition legislation that the statutory body is expected to enforce, and how it is legally expected to do that.

However, the report did not delve into claims from some farmer organisations that competition law in the sector was being breached by certain actors in the sector.

On POs, the report outlined the criteria necessary for setting up a PO, and also noted research elsewhere that indicated the benefit of POs in terms of farmer bargaining power.

€3 million for suckler beef promotion

In other news related to the beef sector, Bord Bia has committed to provide €1 million in funding in each of the next three years for the promotion of suckler beef if an application to the EU for funding is unsuccessful.

In a document shared with members of the Beef Market Taskforce, the food board said it was awaiting a decision from the European Commission in November on whether its application for funding has been successful.

However, Bord Bia said it would put €3 million towards suckler beef promotion, spread across three years, in the event that the commission rejects the funding application.