IFA President Eddie Downey today (Friday) said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must accept that there is a severe income crisis in the livestock sector and he needs to take urgent action to address the situation.
Eddie Downey said he has requested Minister Coveney to call an urgent meeting between the meat factories and the IFA and use his good offices to try and make progress on a number of key issues.
Eddie Downey said livestock farmers are extremely angry and frustrated over the way their incomes have been decimated this year by price and specification cuts imposed by retailers and factories. He said with prices recovering in our main export market in the UK, the latest round of price cuts from the factories cannot be justified.
The IFA President said Minister Coveney must be very firm and insist that the factories respect the agreement they entered into with farmers on the price grid under the Quality Payment System. He said the Minister must insist that the factories remove the unfair specifications cuts on dual pricing, weights, age and breeds that were never part of the QPS.
“The Minister must ensure that there is strong competition and transparency in the beef sector. Cattle prices must fairly reflect market returns. We need a strong live export trade to keep a balance in supplies and support viable prices.” He said there must be a solution to the Northern Ireland issue.
Eddie Downey said contracts from the factories at viable price levels are essential and especially for the higher cost winter finishing and bull beef systems.
In addition, Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney must deliver the CAP direct payments early this year on October 16th and ensure full funding in Budget to provide for a GLAS payment for 30,000 farmers.