When Is The Government Going To Protect Beef Farmers? - Tóibín
Speaking on the Rural Independents’ motion calling for an independent beef regulator, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has slammed the government and asked when is the government going to do anything to protect beef farmers.
Speaking in the Dáil, an Teachta Tóibín said: “The beef industry, as it currently constituted, is broken. Beef farmers are forced to sell their produce at below cost prices while a collection of processors and supermarkets multiples make astounding profits on the same product. The Irish Beef market is a an oligopoly. A small number of factories owners are making hundreds of millions of euro profits often tax free while tens of thousands of farmers are forced to supply beef often at a loss. The Factories have enormous buyer power, the farmers have no supplier power.”
“Only 37% of Farmers in south are considered to be independently economically sustainable. A further 35% of farms are only economically sustainable because a family member supplements the income of the farm by working outside the farm. According to Teagasc the remaining 30% of the farms are not economically sustainable. It’s not unusual that a market’s are broken in Ireland. Housing, banking and Insurance are just three other examples of dysfunctional markets in this country. They are broken for two reasons. One because of the complete lack of economics expertise in the government. An average leaving cert economics class would contain more economics know how and expertise than the cabinet.”
“There is another reason why the market is broken. There are close relationships between. I was at an Agricultural Committee in the last Dáil making the case for the Aontú Bill which seeks to but a floor under the price of beef at the cost of productions. The then FG Chair said that it was unreasonable for farmers to expect a price above the cost of production. The current Minister for Agriculture agreed with that it was unreasonable. I would say to farmers, with friends like this in government who needs enemies.”
“I agree we also now is an Independent Beef Regulator with strong statutory powers . An independent regulator who can set standards, impose requirements on the Barrons and ensuring compliance by strong enforcement. Presently, the lack of state control and regulatory authority conveys little fear to meat factories and processors and only serves to nurture an air of invincibility among them. Now is time for that to change.”
“The Beef sector is also an economic lynchpin for many rural economies, much more so than multinational companies. As reported by the Minister in his PQ response to me, “the sector plays a key role in the wider rural and local economy with estimates of output multipliers of around 2.5 for beef production and 1.9 for food processing, compared to an average multiplier of 1.4 for the rest of the economy and 1.2 for foreign owned firms ensuring that beef output produces a much wider return to the rural economy.”
“The Fianna Fáil Minister is on record in the Dáil supporting the establishment of an independent beef regulator, whilst Fianna Fáil previously committed to passing the Equitable Beef Pricing. Let us see whether Fianna Fáil stands with Larry Goodman and the Beef Barons, or the 100,000 beef farmers simply looking for fair treatment. The Fianna Fáil Minister is on record in the Dáil supporting the establishment of an independent beef regulator, whilst Fianna Fáil previously committed to passing the Equitable Beef Pricing. Let us see whether Fianna Fáil stands with Larry Goodman and the Beef Barons, or the 100,000 beef farmers simply looking for fair treatment.”