The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today addressed the eighth meeting of the Beef TaskForce this morning.
The Minister acknowledged the work that has been done to date on progressing the implementation of the actions under the Beef sector agreement and said he was keen that the remaining actions under the agreement are concluded as soon as possible.
The Minister noted “The three market transparency studies commissioned by my department, which I hope will be completed soon, will act as an important starting point for driving increased transparency.
“I would see these actions as providing a platform for further work on transparency which will, be carried forward by the new office of the National Food Ombudsman, which will be established later this year. That office will, have a specific remit in relation to price reporting and analysis.”
Minister McConalogue also stressed to industry that farmers have a clear need for certainty. He stated, “Obviously, prices will be subject to market volatility and this is outside our control to a large extent. However, there are elements where certainty can be provided, and the meat industry needs to be aware that changing these parameters abruptly is very disruptive for farmer suppliers. I would like to see the industry communicating more effectively with farmer suppliers, and providing more certainty and continuity in relation to these issues."
A full discussion followed including a report from Grant Thornton on progress on the completion of the three market transparency studies commissioned by the Department. Two of these are now concluded and will be published on the Department’s website shortly. The third and final report, on the price composition along the supply chain, is progressing.
Teagasc also presented on a scoping exercise carried out in relation to a cuts-based pricing concept. This presentation was received with interest by TaskForce members.
There was also a detailed discussion on the current market situation, as well as an outline of progress on the remaining actions in the Beef Taskforce Agreement.
Severe disappointment was expressed by farmer representatives in relation to beef price developments over the last month, and unhappiness with the explanation provided by Meat Industry representatives at the forum on this issue. The Chair, Mr Michael Dowling, asked Meat Industry Ireland to convey this message clearly to their members.
All documentation relating to the Beef TaskForce including minutes and presentations will be made available on the Department’s website.