Progress on PGI, but some issues still to be Resolved

Following a meeting of IFA National Council, President Tim Cullinan restated the Association’s support for a PGI application.

Tim Cullinan said IFA supports the recognition of Irish beef production through the PGI process and fully recognises the importance of having this important marketing tool for our beef.

“IFA supported the principle of making a PGI application at the last Taskforce meeting. However, as agreed at that meeting, issues remained to be resolved with the application. IFA has held productive talks with the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, the Taskforce Chairman, the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia to address these,” he said.

Tim Cullinan said significant amendments have been made to the original application to reflect the key issues identified by IFA. These include changes to the travel times; haulage requirements; flexibilities to the 220-day requirement; and the assessment of eligibility of product.

However, the key issues of developing a meaningful brand for suckler beef that will be supported by the PGI application; ownership/control of these brands; and the eligibility of bulls are the outstanding issues to be resolved.

Tim Cullinan said in developing a suckler brand, it must be under the control of farmers and must be an additional recognition above PGI status for beef produced from suckler farms. This will require dedicated funding ring-fenced in Bord Bia for the development of a brand that promotes the production systems on suckler farms recognising the societal and environmental contribution the sector makes to the country and the high-quality product that the sector produces.

The current €3m allocation over three years is not adequate to develop a brand of this importance to suckler farmers.  “Farmers must have control of both brands and we need to see a firm commitment from Bord Bia that funding levels will ensure the suckler brand generates real returns to suckler farmers.”

He said the current proposal in relation to the ‘Monitoring Group’ for the PGI is not controlled by farmers.  This is not acceptable.  The PGI is a recognition of the work we do on our farms and must remain under the control of farmers.

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