Beef farmers need to have a “fixed share” of the price paid by customers in the supermarket to stop farms going out of business insists Galway Roscommon TD Denis Naughten.
Addressing the Agriculture Committee this week, Deputy Naughten said that transparency is needed in how prices are set by beef processors for carcasses, and a mechanism to ensure beef farmers get a fair share of the price.
“A lot of the anger expressed by farmers is around cattle specifications and supermarkets need to provide a justification for the specifications that are being laid down by beef processors,” stated Denis Naughten.
The fact is the further the animal goes from the farm gate, the less information is made available on price”, the Independent TD added.
“That is why beef price transparency right across the supply chain, and the associated specifications, must be addressed in the context of securing a fixed but fair proportion of the final price for beef farmers.”
He claimed that while there is a lot of information available on the prices beef farmers get, the same is not true of the margins made by processors selling in the EU market.
“There must be a justification for these specifications and we need to know what the beef carcass is ultimately selling for, including its specific cuts. This must then be used to determine a fair share for beef farmers.”
Denis Naughten said that according to a survey which he has carried out, the share of the final price going to farmers has dropped by a quarter in the past 15 years, averaging a 1.7% decline each year.
Without a fixed share pricing strategy, he warned, many suckler farmers might not survive until Christmas.