IFA President Eddie Downey said farmers recognise that the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Schemes across all the main farming sectors including beef, dairy and sheep are essential for market access to the higher value retail outlets in the UK, Europe and internationally.
He said IFA are very supportive of a Quality Assurance Scheme that rewards farmers and reassures our retail and food service customers across the world that Irish food is of the highest standard and quality. A robust Quality Assurance scheme also underpins market confidence should a problem arise in the supply chain.
Eddie Downey said farmers have made a major investment in the Beef Quality Assurance Scheme (BQAS) and need to be fairly rewarded for this commitment. “The way factories and others are undermining the scheme by imposing dual base pricing, and new specification cuts under the QPS (Quality Payments Scheme), is very damaging.”
The IFA President said livestock farmers are very angry and frustrated over the way their incomes were hit this year, and particularly the way the factories imposed specification cuts and undermined Quality Assurance.
Eddie Downey said, “A key element of the IFA beef price campaign over the last number of months is the demand that Minister Coveney insist that the meat factories honour the agreement they entered into with their farmer suppliers on the QPS and remove the unfair specification cuts imposed on dual pricing and weights, which are seriously undermining returns to producers. This is a key recommendation of the Dowling report from the Beef Forum and it is the job of the Minister for Agriculture to ensure it is implemented”.