Attempts by meat factories to talk down the beef trade “are not justified”, based on the latest market reports, IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said.
The prime export benchmark price for the latest week has increased by 5c/kg, Golden said, but the Irish price is not keeping pace, only increasing by 2c/kg over the same period.
Supermarket prices for beef in the UK has strengthened in the past week and sales remain strong, he added.
In the UK prices have risen by over 7p/kg since the beginning of January, with sterling strengthening by 3% over the same period. This means market conditions for Irish meat factories are favourable, Golden said.
This week bullocks and heifers have been bought at €3.80/kg and €3.85/kg by factories, with factory agents remaining active in marts for finished cattle, the IFA beef chair added.
He said the double standards applied by the EU when it comes to trade deals in comparison to the standards imposed on Irish and EU farmers are not helping the situation, saying: “Our key EU and UK markets continue to be undermined by imports from countries that are not meeting our production standards.”
Golden said beef farmers continue to produce the highest quality beef to the most exacting standards and are expected to do so for prices that are currently up to 80c/kg below the cost of production.
“This cannot be allowed continue. Government and the EU institutions have a key role to play through consistency of approach between trade deals and the production standards of Irish and EU farmers,” he said.