Press Release - Beef Farmers are being dealt a potentially fatal blow......
17th December 2013
Region: Northern Ireland
Oisin Murnion, Chairman of the Northern Ireland National Beef Association, states that beef farmers are being dealt a potentially fatal blow with the dramatic fall in beef prices in Northern Ireland.
Last winter was one of the worst on record and the provinces farmers had hoped this year for the traditional pre-Christmas rise in price to try and recover some of the sky high costs that they suffered. With beef prices a long way below the cost of production, the question needs to be asked what is the long-term vision for the sector if the beef farmer is put out of business.
It seems that once again some meat plants and retailers are putting the good name of our quality beef at risk by importing beef through a longer than necessary food chain. Professor Elliot’s report which was a consequence of the horsemeat scandal of early this year highlights the lack of controls on imported beef.
A substantial quantity of Polish beef is arriving into the UK, with reports that some of this discounted beef has been relabelled as Irish. Have we so quickly forgotten the perils of trading in imported beef with the accompanying loss of provenance?
The importance of our Farm Quality Assured Standard is being undermined by Increasing quantities of beef from the South entering the market, this beef is not up to our Farm Quality Assured Standard, indeed many of our own meat plants here in Northern Ireland are bringing this meat North, yet they are penalising their own suppliers by up to £150 if their animals are non FQAS.
Furthermore, the gap between the prices here and on the mainland is an unjustifiable 24p. Indeed the price gap between here and Scotland is around 50p. No wonder some farmers are sending cattle across the water. Many more would except they are restricted by Tuberculosis.
The question is, should retailers and meat plants be allowed once again to put the good name of Northern Ireland beef at risk by importing beef of questionable background?