Origin Green has 'failed to deliver for beef sector' claim farm leaders

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia

Declan O'Brien and Louise Hogan

Bord Bia's Origin Green programme has failed to deliver a premium price for Irish beef farmers, the ICMSA has claimed.

The farm body also maintained that farmers were failing to see any price benefits from Bord Bia's Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) despite the costs involved.

ICMSA's assertions were included as part of its submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture regarding the future of the beef sector.

"The investment by farmers and the national exchequer in Bord Bia and Origin Green must deliver a premium price for premium beef. This has not been achieved to date and farmers are increasingly frustrated that their participation in SBLAS is not being rewarded in the marketplace," the ICMSA submission states.

Meanwhile, the ICSA warned in its submission that expansion and increased intensification were not a solution for the beef sector.

The drystock organisation said there was a need to target better prices through better marketing and reduced supply.

The ICSA claimed that Brexit and the possibility of a trade deal with Mercosur represented major challenges to the beef industry.

It is calling for EU legislation to audit the margins in the food chain and to provide public information on the share of profits between retailers, processors and primary producers.

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The IFA recommended the Agriculture Minister and Joint Committee request the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission undertake a report on the lack of competition in the beef processing sector.

The Oireachtas committee received over 20 submissions from organisations including the farmer representative bodies, pedigree societies, producer groups, individual beef farmers and environmental body An Taisce.

Pat Deering TD, chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, said a decision will be made next week on who will be invited to appear before the committee to make presentations.

"It was initially hoped to have the process finished by Easter but I think at this point it deserves to be extended and granted a third date of hearings because of the importance of the issue. We are looking forward to engaging with those who made the submissions and could be helpful to the industry as a whole," he said.

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