"We now believe that the fifth-quarter is worth €200/animal which is a massive bonus compared to twenty years ago when it was a net cost," ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said.
Back at one of the original beef round-table talks in 2014-2015, the farm lobby group alleged that the fifth-quarter was worth at least €150/animal.
“We were laughed at by meat factory representatives and neither the Minister nor other farm representatives at the time supported us on this.”
“However, farmers have not seen a red cent of all the money being made from offal, energy and cosmetics by the beef industry and it is now time for a full audit of this to determine what is a fair share for farmers,” Phelan concluded.
Meanwhile, the farm lobby group has said that Simon Coveney’s comments about the need for a regulator for the beef sector are "better late than never".“ICSA proposed a regulator for the beef sector back in 2014 to the then Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, at the ‘Ploughing’. Our specific points were that the QA bonus was being manipulated by factories to undermine competition for cattle and to undermine marts.”
“We also raised serious questions about ensuring fair play for farmers in terms of grading, level of trim and general scrutiny of what was going on behind meat factory doors.”
“Unfortunately, Simon Coveney rejected our suggestion saying that we couldn’t allow any negative perceptions of the beef industry to emerge.”
Phelan said that he current lack of determination to “face down” the meat processors at that time has “indirectly led to the current catastrophe for the beef sector”.
“For too long, politicians from various political parties have been afraid to take on the beef barons and have allowed them to progressively make things worse and worse for farmers.”
“Meanwhile, such inaction has allowed supermarkets and processors to make ever greater profits off the back of the primary producer,” Phelan concluded.