Seán Canney TD has called on farmers to join producer organisations, so that control of beef and sheep prices is brought back to farmers rather than leaving it to processors.
The Minister for Rural Affairs was speaking following a meeting in Loughrea, Co. Galway on Monday night at which members of the Beef Plan Movement gave information on producer organisations and how they work. The Beef Plan Movement operates a producers’ group called Irish Beef Producers.
‘Beef producers need to join producer groups. I am also strongly recommending that sheep farmers come together to form producer organisations to represent their interests in negotiating prices with factories. Control of meat prices must be brought back to the farmers, rather than leaving it with the processors.
‘It is also imperative that the Taskforce, which didn’t meet last week, is reconvened and gets to work, because issues relating to beef have to be discussed and progress must be made on this issue.
‘Farmers need a critical mass of suppliers when dealing with the processors. Otherwise they will suffer and will remain at the mercy of factories. These organisations can then get prices from the factories on a weekly basis and communicate them to their members. The decision will rest with the farmers and the power will also rest with the farmers.
‘These groups can be set up and can be recognised by the Department of Agriculture as there is a recognition that farmers need to have collective bargaining power.