MII optimistic Beef Market Taskforce Engagement

October 14, 2019

Ahead of Monday’s meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said today that it was entering the talks with an optimistic view on what processors and farming representatives could achieve together in implementing all elements of the Agreement reached on 15th September. 
Already, MII member companies have implemented the principal bonus related elements of the Agreement which have benefited farmers on cattle processed since 22nd September. In addition, the commitment to withdraw legal proceedings connected to the illegal blockading of beef plants has been honoured by the beef companies concerned. 
MII notes that other aspects of the Agreement are important to making progress in our sector, and MII is fully committed to working on the implementation of these. The remit of the Taskforce is not renegotiation, but to monitor the implementation of the Agreement. 
Equally, the Taskforce should facilitate engagement on strategic issues facing the sector. We are only weeks away from a potential no-deal Brexit that would grievously harm the decades of progress made in building a strong presence of Irish beef in UK retail and foodservice channels. Successive CAP reforms have led to an erosion of single farm payments to beef producers which is now an acute part of the income pressure. Also, falling consumption of beef across the European market is weakening the underlying demand - this needs to be addressed through promotion and through securing new market outlets internationally. 
Finally, referring to the provision requiring parties to the Agreement to comply with the dispute resolution provisions, it urged all parties to re-commit to this requirement as a gesture to customers both within the EU and internationally. They urgently need to know that Ireland has moved past the recent trade disruption that has been very unsettling and damaging to our collective standing in export markets.