Minister confirms ‘progress’ following beef talks conclusion

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has this morning, August 13, noted the progress made with talks on the beef sector which concluded earlier today.

At this stage it is anticipated that discussions will re-convene on Thursday or Monday.

AgriLand understands that a decision will be made by processors to accept or refuse the tabled resolutions; if accepted, a second meeting will be called for next week – however, if rejected, the meeting could be held this Thursday, August 15.

The minister thanked participants and Michael Dowling for chairing the discussions. He also urged “continued constructive dialogue” in the coming days.

The talks between Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the Beef Plan Movement, farm organisations and state agencies concluded after more than 12 hours of discussions shortly after 2:00am and, while some compromise was made, MII has taken the proposals and intends to reflect on a number of the issues raised with its members.

Also Read: Beef talks conclude following 12-hour marathon

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) pointed out that Dowling will circulate a document based on the proposals that were put forward.

The organisation’s president Joe Healy added: “Some progress had been made on market transparency and the introduction of a price index.

“There is also a commitment to look at the market specifications that impact on price that exists in the grid.”

Contentious issues

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) president, Edmond Phelan, pointed to an agreement for a full review of the beef pricing grid and related issues including the 30-month specification and the bonus payments to quality assured farmers.

These are very contentious points for farmers and we expect that Bord Bia analysis on market requirements will inform the process.

He continued: “There is a commitment to more transparency in the food chain, specifically to determine who gets what margin. ICSA strongly contends that the farmer gets an unfair and inadequate share of the final retail price.”

He also pointed to “the full agreement” that Ireland presses for substantial further support for beef producers arising from ongoing and unprecedented losses from Brexit.

It was also agreed that Ireland should be pressing the EU to invoke the World Trade Organisation (WTO) safeguard clause.

Phelan continued: “This would halt beef imports from outside the EU on the basis that there was a threat of serious injury to the industry due to market turmoil.

“It was also agreed that Bord Bia would drive on with efforts to begin a suckler beef promotion campaign with a view to demonstrating the potential to develop a suckler beef market proposition designed to get higher prices for specialty suckler beef.”

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