IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said attempts by the meat factories to talk down the trade are not justified based on the latest market reports.
He said the Prime Export Benchmark price for the latest week has increased by 5c/kg, with the Irish price not keeping pace, only increasing by 2c/kg over the same period.
Brendan Golden said the supermarket price for beef in the UK has strengthened in the past week and sales remain strong.
Beef prices in the UK are strong and steady, rising over 7p/kg since the beginning of January and with sterling strengthening by 3% over the same period to 87.5p/€, market conditions for Irish meat factories are favourable.
Supplies of finished cattle are tight, in addition UK production for the year is predicted to contract by 5%.
Bullocks and heifers have been bought at €3.80 and €3.85/kg by factories for this week and factory agents remain active in marts sales for finished cattle.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said the double standards applied by the EU when it comes to trade deals in comparison to the standards imposed on Irish and EU farmers is not helping the situation. “Our key EU and UK markets continue to be undermined by imports from countries that are not meeting our production standards,” he said.
The current Prime Export Benchmark price of €3.76/kg, which is based on prices in our key markets, highlights the dysfunction of the EU policy when it comes to beef farmers, an approach that must be stopped. This price is up to 80c/kg below production costs for Irish beef farmers.
At the IFA AGM last month, Taoiseach Micheál Martin talked about realigning food prices with production costs. IFA has continuously raised this issue at national and EU level.
“We must start seeing meaningful action on this front and the first steps must be to reject the Mercosur deal and remove the existing sub-standard imports from the market place. In addition, supermarkets have a key role in this and the influence they have been allowed exert in food pricing throughout the EU must be curtailed,” he said.