The ninth meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce took place took place yesterday (Thursday, April 22) and saw the third Grant Thornton report shown to members.

Three consultancy reports commissioned on market transparency issues are a key part of the work of the taskforce, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The first two reports produced by Grant Thornton, on competition law in the beef sector, and on market specifications and requirements, have already been published.

A draft of the third report on the price composition along the supply chain has been made available to taskforce members for comments, the department says.

The report will be published after a discussion at the next meeting of the Taskforce, planned for early June, it was added .

However, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has already expressed its dissatisfaction with this latest report.

Commenting after the meeting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said:

“I am pleased to see that the three market transparency studies commissioned by my Department, will be concluded soon.

“Notwithstanding the challenges in relation to availability of data along the supply chain in the required level of detail, these reports will act as an important starting point for driving increased transparency.

He added that the report “will provide the foundations for further work on transparency, which will be carried forward by the new office of the National Food Ombudsman to be established later this year”.

“That office will have a specific remit in relation to price reporting and analysis.”

According to the department, a “detailed discussion” on the current market situation and outlook followed a presentation from Bord Bia. There was also an outline of progress on the remaining actions in the Beef Taskforce Agreement.

All documentation relating to the Beef Taskforce including minutes, when finalised, will be made available on the department’s website.