IFA President Joe Healy has said that retailers and the EU Commission must be included in the talks that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has convened for tomorrow.
Speaking at the Tullamore Show today (Sun), Joe Healy said, “While the factories are the main problem, the retailer has a dominant role in the dysfunctional food chain that is not working for beef farmers. They need to be around the table tomorrow to account for their actions and to outline how they intend to address the problem”.
Joe Healy said the EU Commission needs to be represented to explain why they are allowing the EU beef market to be totally undermined with imports which fail to meet EU standards and also to outline their plans and supports for the Irish and EU beef sector in Brexit.
The IFA President said the letter sent by Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to farmers involved in the Beef Plan Movement shows that the current rules and enforcement structure in the area is a complete joke.
“They need to be replaced with a new regulator who acts for all parties in the chain,” he said.
“If anyone needs to be investigated, it is the meat factories. The Competition Authority has previously raided the IFA offices and threatened us and other farmers on numerous occasions. The CCPC is not fit for purpose from a farmer’s point of view,” he said.
“New EU legislation on the Agri Markets Task Force needs to be implemented here. It will require a new state agency with robust oversight and resources to enforce it,” he said.
Joe Healy pointed out that at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee hearings earlier this year on the beef sector, IFA called on Minister Creed and the Committee to investigate the lack of competition in the beef processing sector.