Commenting on the visit by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to Japan and Singapore, IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said it’s important for beef farmers that the Minister and Bord Bia build on key high-value markets for Irish beef.
Brendan Golden said growing market share for beef and regaining access to the Chinese market are important steps in maximising the returns to farmers.
However, protecting the European market for Irish and EU farmers is where the real value rests, and trade deals such as Mercosur cannot undermine this vital market for suckler and beef farmers.
“These are important aspects for the sector in the medium to longer term, but we cannot lose sight of the immediate challenges on suckler and beef farms,” he said.
He said suckler and beef farmers do not have the financial capacity to absorb the current inputs inflation and this must be addressed both in terms of stronger returns from the market place from factories and minimum price commitments for winter finishing. The Minister must also play his part and provide targeted direct supports for suckler and beef farmers in the upcoming Budget.
Outlining IFA’s calls for commitments on the national funding from the current BEEP scheme for next year from the Minister to bring the total direct support for suckler cows to €300/cow and the provision of a €100/head rearing and finishing payment for suckler and beef farmers, Brendan Golden said these targeted payments must be provided in Budget 2023.
“Some of our most productive suckler and beef farmers are facing into 2023 with the challenge of the ongoing inputs costs which will be further compounded by the erosion of their basic payments in the new CAP.”
The Minister must move to offset this impact through better financing of the Pillar II schemes with targeted payments. Cost of living supports for suckler and beef farmers that recognise their vulnerability are also needed.