A farmer, based at a protest in the South-East has, on behalf of the Independent Farmers of Ireland, penned an open letter to Tara McCarthy / Minister Creed / Minister Humphreys / Professor Gerry Boyle and the Government of Ireland.
The Independent Farmers of Ireland is requesting clarity on the Government of Ireland’s position in relation to the ongoing protests, as a “result of beef farmers not being paid a fair price for their produce”.
It is seeking formal statements from Bord Bia, Minister Creed, Minister Humphreys, Professor Gerry Boyle and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, to “put on the public record what the Government of Ireland is doing to remedy the situation, including whether it is calling on Meat Industry Ireland to implement fair pricing and remove anti-competitive practices”.
The Independent Farmers of Ireland is requesting a “response and clear position” from the Irish government in relation to each of the following:
- Development of a mechanism with clear metrics to ensure that when Bord Bia engages in promotional work overseas it is for the benefit of primary producer;
- Labelling to indicate whether the primary producer has received a fair price for the product (in domestic market);
- Publish a review of Bord Bia’s overall performance in relation to benefits to smaller producers;
- Full published accounts indicating the total amount received in levies from beef farmers on an annual basis since the introduction of the levy.
Minister Creed and Minister Humphreys, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, respectively
- Review of existing trade agreements to assess the benefits for primary producers in the beef sector;
- Supports for beef farmers to support competition by setting up farmer run processing plants and export groups;
- Beef farmers to work with IDA to secure investment from European processing plant to establish a base in Ireland;
- Ask Minister Creed to clarify his position in relation to why the “Government is pursuing policies to depress Irish and European beef prices through the oversupply of beef from outside the EU; this is particularly relevant in light of the Minister’s comments that he could not intervene in talks with Meat Industry Ireland on price because in his view price is determined by the law of supply and demand”
- Ask Minister Creed whether he was responsible for the September 8th announcement of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to postpone a discussion on the beef crisis dispute.
- Request publication of figures from its beef unit and “clear acknowledgement that the viability of the sector is being threatened by predatory pricing”.
“The ongoing protests are about the livelihoods of the thousands of farmers and their families but not just; they are about whether we believe in creating fair systems or espouse exploitation, unfair competition and damaging monopolies.” the letter outlines.
“They about the rural economy and whether government policy wishes to accelerate its decimation or invest in its future.”
“They are about whether we respect our rural heartlands and food producers; they are about the consumer and the right to locally sourced quality produce.”
“And of course, they are about whether we want to engage meaningfully on the links between agriculture, trade and climate change in discussions on sustainability.” the letter stated.