Despite the crisis in the beef sector increasingly hitting the confidence of farmers the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is still confident the sectors Food Harvest 2020 targets will be met.

In response to a parliamentary question in the Dail this week the Minister stated that the continued development of the beef sector, as outlined in Food Harvest 2020, has been one of his priorities since taking office.

He said: “The Government’s commitment to the primary production in the sector is evidenced by an investment package worth up to €40m to beef farmers in 2014 allied with a number of progressive schemes to be implemented over the lifetime of the new RPD.”

The Minister commented: “Since the onset of the recent crisis in the beef sector particularly in relation to the bull trade, I have met separately with representatives of both the farm organisations (IFA, ICMSA, ICSA) and meat factories (MII) in February and March this year to see what assistance I could give to resolving their difficulties.

“Taken together with the leadership provided by my roundtable initiative, beef farmers have the necessary supports to enhance the profitability and sustainability of their livestock enterprises.

“In my view the work following on from the Beef Roundtable discussions taken together with the investment outlined above and further support for beef farmers from the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) will mean that the targets set for the sector in Food Harvest 2020 will be achieved.”