Power submits beef sector review draft to IFA

A draft report of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) much-anticipated beef sector review has been submitted to the association’s headquarters.

The findings of the root-and-branch review – carried out by leading economist Jim Power on behalf of the association – are expected to be published over the coming weeks.

In response to AgriLand queries, Power – who is the former chief economist with Bank of Ireland – confirmed that his draft report has been submitted to the IFA.

“It’s not quite finished yet; I have a couple of meetings that I’m trying to get finished over the next couple of days, so I would hope that it would eventually see the light of day over the coming weeks.

It presents a very honest assessment, as I see it, as to where the Irish beef sector is at the moment.

“I will be criticised on both sides, presumably.

“More importantly it addresses what we need to be doing to make sure we have a sustainable beef industry into the future,” said Power.

Farmer unrest

The report will follow months of farmer unrest over the state of the Irish beef sector, with serious grievances being aired over beef price lows on the back of increasing production costs.

Last summer, farmers flocked in their thousands to take part in nationwide protests outside Dáíl Éireann and the country’s meat processing plants – a situation that escalated into legal threats in some instances.

Meanwhile, factory workers were impacted with temporary layoffs, while concern over the protection of important supply contracts became a serious issue for processors and state agencies.

Although the situation eventually culminated in the establishment of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement – agreed by all stakeholders last month – farmers still await the first official meeting of the new Beef Market Taskforce which is aimed at providing a roadmap and a “robust implementation structure” for the commitments entered into in the agreement.

The first meeting of the taskforce was due to convene two weeks ago; however, further snap protests outside Agriculture House in Dublin prevented the meeting from going ahead.

It is understood that efforts are being made to reconvene the taskforce meeting as soon as possible.