IFA President Tim Cullinan said the approval by the CCPC of the Dawn Meats acquisition of Kildare Chilling will reduce competition for beef and sheep farmers, not only within the 100km radius, but throughout the country.
He said the findings of the investigation accept competition will be reduced, but by their measure, not substantially.
In our comprehensive submission on the deal, IFA called out the problems associated with the contraction of processing competition in the cattle and sheep sector. This sale of Kildare Chilling removes another significant standalone plant.
“Allowing any reduction in competition between buyers of cattle and sheep is not acceptable. The CCPC has failed farmers yet again in facilitating this acquisition,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said this decision brings the role and powers of the Office of Fairness and Transparency in the Food Chain into sharp focus.
“Regulators continue to allow less competition by allowing these acquisitions and mergers of processors in an area that lacks any level of price transparency outside the farm gate,” he said.
He said the Office of Fairness and Transparency in the Food Chain must step up to the plate and prove its worth to farmers by ensuring this acquisition does not reduce farmer returns from the market place.
The IFA President also identified short comings in the Department of Agriculture in relation to transparency around sheep meat pricing.
He said beef prices are published weekly on the DAFM website for each category of animal for each factory but no such system is in place for sheep prices.
Tim Cullinan said the Department of Agriculture must replicate the price reporting system in place for beef prices for sheep farmers to help provide more transparency for sheep farmers in the sale of their animals.
The IFA President said giving the green light to this deal reduces competition for farmers. The Department of Agriculture and the Office of Fairness and Transparency in the Food Chain now have a critical role to play to ensure this acquisition does not weaken the position of farmers when selling their cattle and sheep.