We are barely a month away from a potential Brexit catastrophe, yet it has scarcely been discussed at the Beef Market Taskforce in the last six months, ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said.
The ICSA has said that winter finishers are being asked to take an enormous gamble on Brexit, while the meat industry provides zero guidance on potential negative scenarios for the sector.
The farm organisation has also complained that the targets set out in the beef agreement of 2019 are now slipping further behind.
The ICSA has written to the Beef Market Taskforce chair to demand more urgency in delivering the beef agreement and to insist that the current threats to the sector are dealt with.
Graham said: “The PGI question has dominated discussions in recent months and farmers are increasingly frustrated that the taskforce has not delivered fast enough.
“There is no excuse for the delays on independent reports on customer and market requirements, the price composition of the total value of the animal and the comprehensive review of the quality payment grid.”
Graham also called on the meat industry to explain why prices have fallen behind the UK, particularly in the second half of 2020.
“[The] Irish beef price has fallen back compared to the prime export benchmark, which measures a basket of EU export destinations.”
The ICSA has called for monthly meetings of the beef taskforce to resume.
Graham concluded: “I cannot emphasise strongly enough that the taskforce cannot be seen to fail. I’m increasingly struggling to convince farmers that it is working as well as it should.”