ICMSA threat to quit Beef Forum over 'grid' row
The ICMSA has threatened to pull out of the Beef Forum unless a credible review of the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle is undertaken.
In a major intensification of its campaign for changes to the QPS, ICMSA president John Comer insisted the association would have to "seriously question" its continued involvement in the Beef Forum unless there was real progress on a reassessment of the beef grid.
The dairy representative body pointed out that a review of the QPS by June this year was one of the key elements of last November's agreement which brought farmer blockades of meat plants to an end. The deal was brokered by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.
However, last month Minister Coveney said any re-examination of the QPS was a matter for the farm organisations and beef processors who had originally agreed the payment system.
But Mr Comer said the minister's refusal to deliver a review of the QPS was not acceptable.
He pointed out that last November's agreement stated: "The QPS system will be reviewed, with the assistance of Teagasc, with a view, in particular, to providing a more simple and transparent system, before the middle of 2015."
"If the Beef Forum fails to follow through on clear commitments made a mere six months ago, then it stands indicted as a waste of time from a farmer's perspective and ICMSA would have to seriously review its continued participation," Mr Comer said.