We need to force the processors to open their books – Joe Healy

There is a complete absence of transparency in the meat industry and the processors should be forced to open their books, according to IFA Presidential candidate Joe Healy.

He has called on the Irish authorities to follow the French government’s lead in plans to fine food companies that hide their financial returns from farmers.

“Under proposed legislation the French authorities aim to increase fines where food companies fail to publish detailed financial results each year.

“The fines would equate to a daily rate of 2% of the business’s daily sales,” Healy said.

The IFA Presidential candidate has said that a similar approach has to be taken in Ireland.

We have a situation where the owners of the meat processing sector are among the country’s richest individuals but the farmers who sell them the cattle and sheep are struggling to make ends meet.

“There is a complete absence of transparency in the meat industry – both at processor and retailer level. We need to force the processors, and indeed the retailers, to open their books.

“Drystock farmers are struggling to make a living each year and there have been repeated calls for greater transparency in the sector as a result.”

Healy said that the French appear to be serious about tackling this matter and that the Irish authorities should follow the French example.

“Farmers will always be price takers in the meat industry. But greater transparency in the sector would invariably help counter the power imbalance between processors and our beef and sheep producers.”