GLOBAL AG VIEW
Irish farmers stage protest as beef buyers ‘run amok’ rMinister accused of
giving way to factories By Alex Black IRISH farmers have held protests outside the beef forum at the Department of Agriculture and at ABP Clones in anger over prices dropping during a fodder crisis. The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) accused Michael Creed,Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, of allowing factories to ‘run amok and cut cattle prices to loss-making levels’ when prices were rising in the UK, the main export market. Joe Healy, IFA president, said these factories had used Minister Creed, who was opening new markets and driving exports, while at the same time cutting prices. “Since mid-July, the factories have
Farmers protest outside the Department of Agriculture.
hammered prices down from a base of €4/kg to €3.75 and are now trying €3.70. They took advantage of farmers in the drought and used the weather and costs against them,” he said, adding this had taken them down well below the cost of production. “During this period, despite repeated requests, the Minister never lifted a finger against the factories. He called
in the banks, he worked with the co-ops on the fodder issue – but never said a word to the meat factories. He gave them free rein and let them run amok.” On Tuesday (October 9) the Government revealed a €20 million beef support package with farmers receiving a payment of up to €40 per cow in its 2019 Budget. Minister Creed announced the
opening of the Kuwait market for Irish beef and sheepmeat, but the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), which was protesting about price cuts during a fodder crisis outside ABP, said there was little prospect farmers would feel any benefit. ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said: “The opportunity to export to Kuwait will no doubt be great news for them and for all others who make money off the backs of farmers. “It is reprehensible primary producers continually get forgotten with all the hype.” It follows protests outside a pork factory in Tullamore, in response to Carroll’s using Belgian pork in its products despite cases of African swine fever in Belgium’s wild boar population. IFA managed to secure a commitment from Carroll’s to use all Irish pigmeat in its products following the protest.
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