Next meeting of beef taskforce to be held this month

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has announced that the fourth meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce will take place in late September by video conference.

Revealing the news today, Thursday (September 10), Minister McConalogue commented:

“I have had constructive engagements with both beef farming and industry stakeholders since taking office, and I am well aware of the crucial role that the beef sector plays in the rural economy.

The taskforce, chaired by Michael Dowling, provides a forum for detailed engagement on key issues facing the beef sector, and is particularly important in progressing the commitments made by all stakeholders in the Beef Sector Agreement a year ago.

Key points for discussion at the meeting will include: the draft application for Protected Geographical Indicator [PGI] status for Irish grass-fed beef; and progress on the market transparency studies being conducted by Grant Thornton.

Transparency ‘crucial’

In an extensive interview with AgriLand earlier this week, Minister McConalogue commented on the taskforce, noting:

“The work of the Beef Market Taskforce is very important and it’s something that I will be putting strong emphasis on…in terms of the agreements that were reached [and that they] are followed through on.

“I know we are awaiting in the near future the report that Grant Thornton is conducting in terms of margins in the food supply chain. I think that’s a very important piece of work.

I do think transparency in the food chain is critical and particularly in terms of competence that there is fairness there at different levels and, in particular, that farmers and primary producers are getting a fair deal and a fair crack of the whip.

“That has been a big source of the problem and the frustration…that farmers haven’t been able to see that.

“One of the key priorities I had in opposition that we brought to the country at the last election was the need for a national food ombudsman,” he added.