Irish farmers urge minister to show commitment

Farmers in Ireland have expressed concerns over the lack of commitment shown by the Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney. 

Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA) national livestock chairman Henry Burns said farmers were demanding that Coveney involve himself and address the lack of competition that has been inflicting the Irish beef sector.

“Livestock farmers are very frustrated because they feel the Minister is clearly leaning towards the processors and not the farmer,” said Burns.

The chairman revealed that livestock farmers had fears around competition and dominance in beef processing, as well as rendering in the sale of the Allen family’s 50% share of the Slaney/ICM [Irish Country Meats] business to ABP. As a result, ABP will effectively have 29% control of the beef kill.

Burns requested that Minister Coveney take a real interest and address the lack of competition in the beef sector, as well as the price gap between Irish and British cattle prices. He said that Bord Bía had provided figures to the Minister, which showed that the average Irish/UK price gap for 2015 had widened to 82c/kg or €293 per head. This compares to an average of 27c/kg or €97 per head over the 10 years from 2004 to 2013.

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