Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney positive on outlook for beef sector

Friday 22 August 2014 22.23
Cattle farmers have been concerned over falling prices and retailers' specifications
Cattle farmers have been concerned over falling prices and retailers' specifications

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said the medium and long-term outlook for the beef sector is very strong across Europe and in new markets such as Asia and the Middle East.

Speaking RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney was responding to questions about farmers concerns over price and specification.

Mr Coveney said in the short-term he believed that there would be a reduction in supply next year, but also economic growth across Europe, which would see an increase in consumption of red meat.

He insisted that retailers' specifications for beef had not changed, but said the implementation of those specifications had altered.

Mr Coveney said the reason for that is there is currently an oversupply of cattle.

He said the price of beef had fallen right across Europe at the same rate roughly as it had fallen in Ireland.

Outlining what was being done to address the situation, he said a very significant new Common Agricultural Policy had been negotiated, which would put €12.5 billion into the hands of Irish farmers over the next six years, and about two-thirds of this would go into the beef sector.

Mr Coveney said the beef forum had met a couple of months ago and was due to meet again in a number of weeks time.

He said the marketing fund for Bord Bia had been increased across Europe for beef.

Mr Coveney said a public consultation process had been started and a legal entity would be set up to represent beef farmers’ producer organisations.

IFA President Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney must accept there is a severe income crisis in the livestock sector and he needs to take urgent action to address the situation.

Mr Downey added livestock farmers are extremely angry and frustrated over the way their incomes have been decimated this year by price and specification cuts imposed by retailers and factories.

Farmers warn of bad cereal harvest next year

Tillage farmers are warning that there could be a dramatic drop in the level of cereals grown in Ireland next year despite a very good harvest this summer.  

The concern comes as cereal prices fall significantly below the cost of production.