In advance of the first meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce, ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said that farmers are already beginning to doubt the commitment of meat factories to last month’s agreement.
“Farmers are outraged that new, more severe weight penalties have been introduced without consultation.”
“They are also alarmed that all injunctions have not been set aside and the threat of legal penalties and costs still hangs over the heads of farmers,” Phelan said.
New penalities on weights
“ICSA is insisting that the meat industry must immediately demonstrate good faith, by dropping all legal threats.”
“New and severe penalties on weights are a breach of the agreement already reached and we want these issues dealt without delay.”
The farm organisation is also insisting that transparency around pricing throughout the food chain must be central to the work of the taskforce.
Meanwhile, the IFA has also said that the Beef Taskforce must address the “outstanding injunctions against farmers”.
Joe Healy said that deadlines set out in the beef sector agreement that have already been missed will also have to be resolved.
“The beef sector agreement specifically states that the beef price index would be introduced from September 16th. It’s now four weeks later and farmers are still waiting.”
“This is to be a key tool ensuring more transparency on meat and offal markets, giving accurate verified information on price trends to keep the factories honest on the base price. We need it immediately,” he added.
“There was a lot of talk about building trust during the talks, but the factories have shown no interest in this.” Healy concluded.
“The way they have imposed weight limits in recent weeks has frustrated and angered farmers and undermined the in-spec bonus increases in the agreement.”
He said that factories will have to fundamentally change their approach to try and rebuild trust with farmers.