Minister calls for beef roundtable discussions

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has called for a roundtable discussion on the beef industry, citing it as Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry.

In a press release issued yesterday evening, he said he has invited key stakeholders, including farm organisations, beef processors and relevant state agencies to a round table discussion on the future development of the beef sector on 17 April.

“By some measures the beef sector is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, involving more than 100,000 farm families, and 8,000 jobs in processing, sales and marketing, with exports valued of more than €2 billion in 2013.  Food Harvest 2020 set an initial target of a 20% increase in the value of output for the beef sector. The target for beef exports has already been exceeded.

“The time is now right to sit down with key stakeholders in the sector, to consider the strategic approach needed to support its development, using the best available market intelligence, and the newest technology and research to improve performance at all levels of the supply chain.  The beef sector makes a vital contribution to Irish agri food and to employment and the economy generally. I am convinced that with the right strategic approach and positive collaboration from all of the players, the beef sector in Ireland has a bright future.”

Concluding, Minister Coveney said that this forum would be a vehicle for positive engagement from all of the main players in the industry on exploiting the opportunities, addressing the challenges, and positioning the sector to fulfil its potential for the future.

The move comes in light of Meat Industry Ireland calling for specifications around beef coming through the system. The ICSA has been highly critical of the move by Meat Industry Ireland, saying a maximum carcass weight of 380kg effectively means that processors do not want a beef industry based on continental breeds.