Who is checking the standard of grain imports?
Farmers will lose on the double from low-quality grain imports
It's the middle of our harvest and apart from the usual discussions about yield and quality, I also find myself discussing another issue, that may be badly affecting grain farmers - imports of lower quality grain.
I have heard several reports about lower grade imports coming into the grain market.
As a sector we don't produce enough grain for the feed industry so we need to import. I don't have a problem with that. I do, however, have a problem if merchants are importing lower grade grain which pushes down the price of higher quality home grown grain.
Farmers have led the field in our agri food industry. Our Department of Agriculture and other statutory bodies are leading the way in traceability and transparency.
They detected the horse meat in beef products long before many other countries.
The 'farm to fork' policy is not only a positive one for the consumer; it also gives farmers the support of a heavily scrutinised system.
This scrutiny is important to create a benchmark for quality. This has also led to a healthy food industry that can follow ingredients right back to the source.
The majority of farmers in Ireland are in assurance schemes. Grain farmers do not receive any financial bonus for joining the scheme, but a majority are members as most buyers look for this standard when buying.