At the meeting, which took place in Dublin, representatives from Irish retailers engaged with Taskforce members on market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation for the Irish beef sector. They also committed to engaging with the independent review of these requirements which has been commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The Beef Taskforce was established by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed following an agreement on 15 September between Irish producers, processors and lobby groups.
Minister Creed said: “The work of the Taskforce is now well under way with substantial progress made in the delivery of commitments under the beef sector agreement. I am pleased to see Irish retailers engaging constructively with the work of the Taskforce, as it is imperative that mutually beneficial relationships across the supply chain are maintained and developed to secure the future of Irish beef.”
There was also a detailed discussion on the Quality Payment System Grid, carcass classification and producer organisations, as well as a market update report.
At the meeting Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president Joe Healy told the main retailers that the unsustainable discounting of top-quality beef was “a race to the bottom that has to stop”.
Healy said beef prices cannot continue at current loss-making levels at farm level and must be increased.
“Retailers and factories, who work together, must pass back higher market returns with a significant and immediate price rise to farmers.”
He said retailers had outlined details of their specifications, which he said were generally “a lot less onerous than those applied by the factories”.