Following a meeting of the IFA Executive Board this afternoon, President Eddie Downey said there has to be an urgent response from the meat factories that delivers a price increase to farmers that reflects the improved market situation.
Eddie Downey said farmers have struggled with loss-making beef prices through all of 2014 and patience on the ground has run out. “At the Beef Forum yesterday, Minister Coveney challenged the factories directly as to why they are not returning the increased market prices to farmers. The response from the industry has to be swift and meaningful.”
Mr Downey said he made it very clear to the Minister and the factories at the Beef Forum that they must respond to this week’s 24-hour beef protest by 15,000 farmers by addressing the massive €350 per head price gap that has now opened up with our main export market in the UK.
The IFA President said the meat industry’s commitment to the Minister to address the issues must translate into beef price increases for next week.
He said, “Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney confirmed that he will convene another meeting of the Beef Forum on November 12th and in the interim, he expects significant progress to be made on the market price and specification issues”. The IFA President said the QPS payment system has to be fixed as part of these discussions. Failure to deal with these issues comprehensively by November 12th will be failure for the Minister’s Forum.
With UK beef prices increasing by 30c/kg (€100 per head) in the last number of weeks, Eddie Downey said there is no excuse for the factories to withhold a price increase to farmers. He said there is no credible explanation why the strong price increase in the UK, which takes over half of our exports, is not reflected in higher prices to Irish farmers.