At a meeting with Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter this week, IFA President Joe Healy said the beef and lamb Quality Assurance scheme is essential, but it must be made more practical and farmer friendly. In particular, he said, livestock farmers need a close out period introduced to allow them to remain in the scheme and trade, while addressing compliance issues.
Joe Healy said, “IFA is very committed to a strong and worthwhile Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme but the problems around audits and inspections with the current scheme must be rectified.
“It is totally unacceptable to IFA that farmers could be expelled from the scheme for six months. Bord Bia has now given a clear commitment to IFA that farmers who are found to be non-compliant in the current scheme will be accommodated with an early re-audit, particularly those with cattle to sell.”
Joe Healy said the new QA scheme must include a close out system, whereby farmers can correct issues and continue to trade in the intervening period.
The IFA President said “Problems with audits are damaging the relationship between Bord Bia and farmers, and these must be rectified without delay. IFA has always been very supportive of Quality Assurance and we want Bord Bia to resolve these issues and increase the number of farmers participating in the schemes.”
Joe Healy’s discussions with Bord Bia also covered the issues of beef market access to the US and China and cattle specifications. Lamb promotions were also discussed, including TV advertising due to commence on May 26th together with online and newspaper promotions in Ireland, as well as the EU generic lamb campaign in Belgium, France and Germany.
Bord Bia’s pigmeat promotion on the home market runs from May to September and the agency is pursuing interest in Irish pigmeat in the Chinese market.