IFA President John Bryan said the Committee appointed by the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith to implement the Food Harvest 2020 recommendations for the beef sector must restore sustained profitability to livestock farmers within a short timeframe.
John Bryan said IFA will present a comprehensive package of proposals to the Committee and livestock farmers will expect their adoption and implementation by the Government.
The IFA President said the Food Harvest 2020 report has correctly identified the closing of the price differential between Ireland and other premium competitors in the UK and EU markets and maintaining Irish beef’s premium position in EU markets, as the key challenge facing the sector.
John Bryan said closing the market price gap is the key issue to be addressed by the processors in order to restore profit to the livestock sector and IFA will vigorously pursue delivery on this through the Government’s Implementation Committee.
The IFA President said the beef and livestock sector is a hugely important economic driver in Rural Ireland and sustained profitability at farm level is essential if the 20% increase in output value targeted in the Food Harvest 2020 report is to be achieved.
John Bryan expressed concern at the balance on the Committee and called on the Minister to include a person from the mart and live exporter sector to ensure that this vital trade is fully represented.
John Bryan said delivery on the following key elements of the 2020 report is essential to restore sustainable profitability at farm level;
Processors must permanently close the price gap with the UK and our continental EU markets;
Increasing competition by maximising market access and live export opportunities;
Delivery by Bord Bia on promoting Brand Ireland to achieve pride of place on the supermarket shelf and a premium price for Irish beef;
An effective Teagasc programme and an ICBF beef breeding strategy to deliver improved productivity and efficiency at farm level;
Defending the Irish beef sector on the issue of Mercosur and EU import standards;
Securing the future of Direct Payments – the Single Farm Payment, Disadvantaged Areas, REPS, AEOS and the Suckler Welfare scheme;
Maintaining the national asset that is our 1 million Suckler cow herd.