IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the fact that Bord Bia are now scrambling to spin aspects of their PGI document is a direct result of their failure to discuss the document with farmers before it was published.
“Farmers should read the full document rather than the spin from Bord Bia,” he said.
It was very clear that there was considerable farmer disquiet over Bord Bia’s direction of travel in relation to the PGI and this was further emphasised at the most recent meeting of the Beef Taskforce.
This was even before Bord Bia decided to include a number of aspects in the application which were not discussed with anybody.
Their statement that commitments that all animals, including young bulls, would be eligible for the grass-fed ‘standard’ did not mean they would be eligible for the grass-fed ‘PGI’ is disingenuous and inconsistent.
The key issue here is to ensure that farmers see a return from a grass fed PGI. Remarkably, Bord Bia themselves stated in media interviews that they have no market research to suggest that farmers can get a premium for a grass-fed beef PGI.
Now they are trying to rely on general statements about other PGIs which were put in place to protect brands that were already gaining a premium before they were protected.
This whole concept needs a fundamental re-think and Bord Bia need to realise that without farmers there is no food industry
“We will be seeking to meet with the new Minister to discuss this issue once they are appointed this week,” the IFA leader said,
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said that in relation to animal transport, the document clearly refers to all farmers being within two hours of abattoirs. Bord Bia have decided to make a virtue of this in the application, yet we are told it won’t be a requirement. This is not credible. There should be no reference to travel times anywhere in a document like this.
“In addition, they state that animals travel to abattoirs with registered hauliers. What lorry an animal is transported in has nothing do with being grass fed,” he said.
“Bord Bia say they have not finalised the meat colour chart. Yet the document contains a sample colour chart for assessing the ‘cherry redness’ and ‘creaminess’ of the meat. Bord Bia have avoided the question on who will adjudicate on this because they have already agreed that the factory personnel will do this. This is unacceptable,” he said.
“This document is giving hostages to fortune which could have serious repercussions for farmers. It cannot proceed as it stands,” he said.