The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) has accused the meat industry of using scare tactics and relentless negative narratives to undermine farmer confidence.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) suggested that their costs will increase by 40% in Brexit-related disruption in a submission to the Oireachtas committee last week.
It doesn’t hold water to argue that they would jettison all this and take beef from South America instead
“Any extra costs associated with customs processes and disruptions in logistics should be passed on to the consumer, particularly in the UK.
“It is absurd that UK consumers expect to be shielded from the consequences of Brexit because Irish processors would rather hit their own suppliers.
“This argument that UK supermarkets will go elsewhere is just a scare tactic,” ICSA beef chairm Edmund Graham said.
“UK supermarkets have invested a lot of capital in imposing rigorous traceability and quality assurance standards on British and Irish farmers.
“It doesn’t hold water to argue that they would jettison all this and take beef from South America instead.
“Previously, the argument was that it was the wholesale and catering sectors that were fickle, but now these sectors are much less significant due to COVID, while retail sales of beef have risen.”
Beef prices have come under pressure in recent weeks and farmers are becomingly increasingly concerned about the returns they are getting from meat factories.
Graham pointed out that many farmers are facing increasing costs in terms of fertiliser and feed prices.
“In any other business, increased costs of raw materials have to be factored into sales pricing.
“Farmers are now facing even greater costs in supplying beef, as fertiliser and ration costs are spiralling upwards and beef price cuts are totally unacceptable.
“Winter finishers are at nothing producing beef for below €4/kg. In reality, the price needs to be closer to €5/kg,” he said.