Food Wise 2025 is ‘expanding exports but not incomes’

Beef farmers have not seen “a single cent” of extra income from expanding agri-food exports as a result of Food Wise 2025, according to a farm lobby group’s president.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) president, Patrick Kent, has called for the margins of all players along the food chain to be “subject to audits and full transparency”.

He explained: “The ICSA believes that Ireland should be pushing for an EU-level auditor to audit and publish who makes the profit from beef and to expose retailers or processors who take excess margin from the food chain.

The sector is in crisis and the level of despondency is palpable.

Kent was addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the future of the beef sector in the context of Food Wise 2025 in the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, April 17.

He stressed that the Food Wise plan aimed to expand agri-food exports from €10 billion to €19 billion by 2025, but noted that “there was zero focus on how to expand the income of beef farmers”.

Concluding, Kent also outlined: “The ICSA estimates that prime beef producers are losing almost €4 million a week on steers, heifers and young bulls compared to 2015, the last full year before Brexit.”