A comprehensive set of conditions including price transparency must be attached to the €100m Capital Investment Scheme recently announced by Government, ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said.

The ICSA highlights that all farm schemes have strict conditions attached to them, with no reason for the factory fund to be any different.

Graham said he agreed with an Irish Farmers Journal editorial article which suggested that the funding should be linked to sorting out transparency around the meat industry, particularly on price and profitability.

Assist farmers

The ICSA has called on Government to include price transparency, from beef processors in particular, as a strict condition of the fund.

Graham said: “It is not good enough that processors with turnovers in the billions are able to hide behind unlimited company structures. We need an ombudsman with the power to audit who gets what.

“There must also be full visibility around how the money will be used and how it will lead to improved farmgate price.”

Smaller processors

Graham suggests that the money should be used in a manner that is complementary to the grass-fed PGI and suckler brands.

“These funds must not be used to subsidise existing marketing initiatives. We need to see new markets delivering a premium price to primary producers of premium grass-fed and suckler beef.

“The scheme also needs to assist smaller-scale processors and smaller food companies developing niche or artisan products, rather than it all hoovered up by companies with hundreds of millions in turnover.”

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Time to mind ourselves and those around us