Beef Plan calls for EU cash to be paid to meat plants to help farmers
The Beef Plan protest movement is calling on the Government and the EU to create a fund that would be given to meat factories on the guarantee they pay farmers a 'survival line' of €4 per kilo until February 2020.
It comes as the Beef Plan and farming organisations met with representatives from Meat Industry Ireland (MII) over the beef sector and issues raised by the Beef Plan in recent weeks.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has warned that beef prices cannot be discussed at the talks.
According to the Beef Plan, €4/kg is the estimated survival line for beef farmers. Current beef prices are in the region of €3.50/kg.
It wants this short-term pricing model to be put in place with a "cast-iron guarantee the money paid to the farmer never drops below the survival line between now and February".
A spokesperson for the Beef Plan said the Government and the EU had said all along that they would not let beef farmers be out of pocket as a result of losses that are Brexit related.
"Therefore, the Government and EU have now a responsibility to find whatever amount of money that is the shortfall between the market price and the farmers' survival line.
"We believe that this money should be given to the factories, in return the factories have to give a cast-iron guarantee that the money paid to the farmer never drops below the survival line between now and February."
The Beef Plan says this short-term pricing model is needed to avoid the complete devastation of beef farming until a long-term pricing model can be put in place.
At the last meeting between the stakeholders, it was agreed in the context of Brexit that support "is urgently required to ensure the effects on all farmers producing beef are mitigated".
Over the past month, Irish beef prices saw the strongest decline recorded across the EU's beef markets, according to new figures from the European Commission.
The fall in prices over the past month comes on the back of weakening sterling making Irish beef less competitive in the UK.
Some 50pc of Irish beef exports go to the UK.
IFA president Joe Healy said greater transparency was needed in the food chain to deliver a fair price back to farmers: "An accurate price index is essential to arm farmers with key market information and allow them to pursue the full value of their stock."
He also said imports of beef which did not meet the same stringent standards as EU producers must be banned and was seeking a commitment on this from the Government.
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