Most farm organisations have called for conditions to be applied to the €100m Capital Investment Scheme fund in order for factories to draw down monies from it.
They said that the scheme was not on the agenda or discussed at the Beef Taskforce.
ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham said a set of terms and conditions must be attached to the €100m scheme.
There must also be full visibility around how the money will be used
“All farm schemes have strict conditions attached to them, and these conditions must be adhered to in order to draw down funds.
“There is no reason for this scheme to be any different,” he said.
“There must also be full visibility around how the money will be used and how it will lead to improved farm gate price.”
IFA president Tim Cullinan said the Minister for Agriculture “made it clear that this Enterprise Ireland fund was separate from any funding set aside for farmers for market disturbance arising from Brexit”, he said.
The IFA president did not call for conditions to be attached to the scheme but said “legislation around the new food ombudsman should compel the processors to give full disclosure”.
He said “the ridiculous inclusion of the 5% reduction clause in the BEAM scheme” will have to be addressed in the context of COVID-19.
ICMSA has raised transparency issues across the supply chain with Government consistently
ICMSA president Pat McCormack said whoever receives aid from this fund should be required to meet certain standards in relation to market transparency and that these should be included in the terms and conditions.
“ICMSA has raised transparency issues across the supply chain with Government consistently and – as recently as our national AGM – we raised the matter again with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine,” he said.
INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said “the conditionality attached to BEAM was designed by the European Commission and was offered as a restructuring of the Irish beef sector”, he said.
He added that the scheme ended up with 20% of an underspend, particularly from small-scale suckler farmers whose viability would have been affected by the reduction.
“The current €100m on offer to factories will see smaller operators shy away from this pot of money designed to help innovation and added value because of economies of scale similar to the BEAM fund,” he said.
A spokesperson for Macra said Macra’s position is the lack of transparency in the beef industry is not a matter of criteria for schemes but of application of competition law.
"Our focus remains on the development of proposed Food Ombudsman and the role they must play in bringing greater clarity to the breakdown in value of the supply chain."
Dermot O’Brien, one of the Beef Plan Movement representatives on the Beef Taskforce, said the fund was “a handover of state money to private companies with no apparent conditions”.