– ICMSA wants cattle price transparency for farmers
Speaking following the decision of the CCPC to approve the acquisition of Dunbia Ireland by Dawn Meats Ireland, the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Livestock Committee said that it emphasises the now urgent need for greater price transparency in the beef sector to provide farmers with a level of confidence that they are getting a fair price for their cattle.
Confidence which, he said, is simply is not there at present. Michael Guinan said that at the last Beef Forum meeting in July, ICMSA put forward a number of proposals in relation to beef price transparency that must now receive immediate consideration following both the Dawn Meats/Dunbia deal and the ABP/Slaney deal.
“ICMSA proposed that the EU Commission needs to improve the data available in the Beef Market Observatory so that farmers can make an informed judgement on the price they are receiving for cattle. You only to compare the data available in the Beef Market Observatory compared to the Milk Market Observatory to see the complete lack of detailed prices on beef cuts, etc. This is a relatively simple issue that must be addressed going forward that would provide ‘real time’ data to farmers so that they can make a call on the prices they’re being quoted”, said the Beef expert.
“At Irish national level, the Minister should make the Department Beef PriceWatch more farmer-friendly and usable – specifically it should allow farmers to compare prices between factories quickly rather than having to ‘wade through’ a number of tables as is currently the case.
"Secondly, the Minister needs to publish the results of inspections on grading machines, etc, at individual meat plant level so that farmers can see for themselves that the Department is carrying out checks on a regular basis of each factory’s meat plant grading procedures and the results of same. Continuing on that point, farmers should get a copy of the scan image of their carcases so that they can clearly see why their carcase graded at a certain grade”, continued Mr Guinan.
Finally and most importantly, Mr Guinan noted that with greater concentration at meat processor level, competition for cattle will be negatively affected and the need for a strong live export trade has never been greater and greater resources must be allocated to the development of this trade by the Department and Bord Bia.