Beef industry meets to halt price crisis
Irish Farmers and meat industry officials meet after protests to save the stalling beef sector
16 April 2009
Farmers and factory owners met recently in Dublin in an attempt to solve an escalating beef crisis.
Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) officials met following farmer protests outside AIBP, Kepak and Dawn plants earlier last month. The IFA has presently suspended protests but is understood not to have ruled out a return to picketing.
IFA president Padraig Walshe said the recent collapse in cattle prices had put the future of 10,000 specialist winter finishers in jeopardy and was costing some farmers up to €200 per head, reported the Irish Independent.
But MII’s Cormac Healy said the disruption of beef processing would not solve difficult market conditions. Any suggestion of factories profiteering was “downright wrong,” he stated.
The IFA has said however that without winter finishers, Ireland would have “a major seasonality problem.” Walshe maintained cattle prices in the UK and Europe had stayed strong recently. However, Healy claimed higher UK cattle prices are being cancelled out by weaker sterling.
MII has called on the Department of Agriculture to reconvene the Beef Forum immediately to aid finishers and processors. A spokeswoman for the IFA told ShelfLife that discussions were ongoing and another meeting was expected soon.