Minister called on to set-up ’emergency beef summit’

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is being called on to establish an “emergency beef summit” in order to solve the “growing tensions” between farmers and processors.

According to TD Denis Naughten: “Minister Michael Creed must convene an emergency summit of all the key players in the beef sector in light of growing tensions between farmers, processors and those regulating the sector.”

The Roscommon-Galway TD stressed that farmers did not want to protest, but were concerned over the viability of the sector.

From my discussions with many farmers this week, it is clear that they do not want to be protesting but there is huge fear as to the viability of beef farming, particularly over the coming weeks.

Naughten said that he feared the situation would “escalate” if steps were not taken.

“Before this situation escalates, Minister Creed needs to bring all of the players together under an independent chair to assess the current situation and explore all potential options for the beef sector,” he urged.

He continued: “As a measure of good will, the Government must commit to fast-tracking, as a matter of urgency, the new EU law which will ban 16 unfair trading practices covering agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain.

All farmers want is a fair price for what they produce but clearly someone is making a huge margin at their expense.

According to Naughten, the price share of beef that is returning to farmers has dropped by 25% over the last 15 years, which, he said, “clearly highlights the reason why the suckler beef sector is struggling and why we need new laws to ban unfair trading practices”.

He concluded: “The fact is: Our suckler beef industry is the lifeblood of towns and villages the length and breadth of the country, and unless we get everybody around the table quickly then we risk condemning the Irish countryside to desolation.”

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