A full and immediate review into all aspects of Bord Bia is required to “find out if the body is delivering for all farmers”, IFA Deputy President candidate Brian Rushe has declared.
Rushe said a review of Bord Bia’s activities is “critical” as challenges mount for farmers.
“We are constantly hearing about the great strides our beef access has made into China and the USA.”
“A former Agriculture Minister stood in New York in 2015 with Irish beef heralding a new future and all we have sold in the US is minuscule amounts. Farmers are not seeing the benefits of these photoshoots.”
He believes the new beef price index is a step in the right direction but questioned why it took farmer fury and protest to force Bord Bia “into action” to establish this.
Prices below €3.50/kg
“These are figures that Bord Bia had at its disposal for years. It goes to show that the powers-that-be in Bord Bia are not thinking about farmers or thinking like farmers.”
“We are looking at European and Northern Ireland prices rise while our beef price is falling below €3.50/kg.”
“We are also seeing substandard South American beef imports are cripple us.”
Beef imported into the EU from South American Mercosur countries in the first six months of 2019 was equivalent to 24% of Ireland’s annual production. This, Rushe stated, undermines our quality, traceable beef and is “total hypocrisy”.
‘Overly reliant on the UK market’
“We must ask the question – has Bord Bia done enough to get more of our produce into new markets? We have been overly reliant on the UK market for 30 years and only with the threat of Brexit has our marketeers been spurred into action.”
“Bord Bia needs to remember that the farmer is the most important component in everything they do.”
“Without the farmer, there is no high-quality food, there is no levy, there is no marketing material for them. It’s high time they remember who the most important stakeholder is – the farmer.”
“I’m calling for an entire review of Bord Bia – top to bottom. Is every stone being lifted to deliver for farmers? We need definite answers to these questions,” Rushe concluded.
Image source: Barry Cronin Photography