ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said it is entirely understandable why farmers are protesting outside meat factories, as confidence in the sector, is at an all-time low.
“ICSA members are protesting alongside their fellow farmers as current beef prices are very far below the cost of production.”
“There is a lot of talk about factories being able to pay €4/kg. In reality; however, even €4/kg comes nowhere near giving the farmer a margin.”
Phelan said a resolution is needed in the next number of days and the ICSA is “prepared to help in any way to find a resolution and we stand ready to work in a united way”.
“However, ICSA is not seeking credit for this protest and it is a matter for the organisers in Beef Plan to suggest how we can help.”
A more sustainable future
He noted that in the longer run, the ICSA is committed to lobby for a more sustainable future for the sector at national and EU level.
“We have built alliances with farm organisations right across Europe to oppose substandard imports from outside the EU.”
“We also need a comprehensive plan to stand up for red meat in the face of climate change being hijacked by vegan propaganda. We need a strategy to get the market back into balance which should be focused on increasing consumption.”
“We need a strategy to push back against the vested interests in the plant-based industry who are pumping billions into ultra-processed food.”
He stressed that it needs to be recognised that scarcity is also an important element in “getting back control over our future.”.
“Live exports must be prioritised; we also need to look at how we deal with too many calves as a result of dairy expansion.”
He called for a policy to set a floor of €200 per cow profitability for sucklers. “The logical way to do that is offer an alternative of €200 per cow per year to those who volunteer to reduce production for five years.”
Mr Phelan announced ICSA will be ramping up its campaign to deliver EU wide compulsory auditing to determine who makes what from the food chain and to expose excess profiteering, whether it happens at processor or retailer level.
“We cannot ignore any longer the reality that powerful multinational retailers have a lot of responsibility, along with processors, for destroying the viability of our sector.” he concluded.