An independent TD believes that there are practices occurring inside the gates of beef processing plants that require “serious investigation”.
Deputy Michael Collins raised the matter during a Dáil debate on Wednesday, November 27th.
“Will the Minister at least start the process of a serious investigation into what is going on inside the factories?”
“We need to know, and beef farmers need the money for which they are working hard.”
“Will the Minister come out of the bed with Larry Goodman and stand up for the farmers of this country?” the Deputy questioned.
Collins called on Minister Creed to “stand up” for beef farmers – many of whom, he pointed out, are in “very serious financial circumstances”.
“They know that the wrongdoing is happening inside the factory gate. We need that rectified.”
“I am advising many farmers to change their style of farming. Many of them did a lot of courses in the organic sector. They signed up, paid for the organic feed and did everything by the book, and 70% of them are now being left outside the door.”
“The Minister of State must step in here and at least help these farmers, if there is another choice out there in order that they can at least be accepted into the organic sector.”
“There are two issues here: what is going on in the factories and the organic sector. We need an answer.”
Organic farming applications
In response, Minister Andrew Doyle said: “Regarding the organic sector, I have answered those questions. Deputy Michael Collins is right that there were 255 applications.”
“A good number of them either did not complete the form or submitted forms that were ruled ineligible. When I announced the reopening of the existing scheme - it is not a new scheme - I said it was on foot of the organic strategy's recommendations that it be targeted at the areas of deficit, which were cereals, dairy and horticulture.”
“The majority of applications were in the beef and lamb sector, where there is already an oversupply, and only up to 30%, or perhaps slightly more, of organically produced beef and lamb is sold in that way.”
One of the reasons for this, he added, is that there is not enough feed in the system at an affordable price.
“We need to get more cereals into the system in order that beef and lamb producers who are already registered as organic farmers have an affordable source of supplementary feed.”
Doyle noted that cereals were prioritised on foot of the recommendation of a strategy group, which involved all stakeholders.
Image source: Image source: Michael Collins Independent TD \ Facebook