Aontú is of the opinion that its equitable beef pricing bill, which is aimed at ensuring sustainability and fairness for the beef sector, is the “necessary” first step in achieving fairness for Irish farmers.
“For too long, beef barons have held unchallenged dominance over beef farmers, generating hundreds of millions of euro in profit while family farms struggle to remain viable.” the political party stated in its manifesto.
“These entities exert massive buyer-power and significantly determine the terms of trade and the price of beef.”
“The power of the beef processors is having a knock-on effect in rural communities as very low levels of farm income is causing stagnation in local economies.”
The political party has listed the following points in its manifesto;
- Pursue “meaningful north-south convergence” in the Irish agri-foods sector;
- Future trading relationship between EU member states and Britain based on regulatory convergence and “smooth” customs arrangements;
- Work with the EU to provide a “comprehensive” package of supports to the agri-food sector to protect the sector from Brexit’s negative economic effects;
- Ensure that there are new supports for market diversification in the Irish agri-foods sector;
- The shortfall from CAP that will arise from Brexit must be replaced by state supports in the short to medium-term;
- CAP needs to be reformed to protect small family farms, “many of which are struggling to survive in poverty”;
- “Ireland needs to decarbonise our energy.” Farmers are well placed to produce small scale wind energy, small scale solar energy and bio-digestion. This, according to the manifesto, could add as much as €10,000 to their annual income;
- The Government must root-out unfair trading practices in the food-supply chain that “allow factories and large supermarkets to abuse their buyer-power.” “There needs to be transparency with regards the margins in the food supply chain.”
- Any uncompetitive trading practices need to be “rooted-out” by the Competition Authority;
- Negative practices that arise due to the “inordinate buyer power of a few large buyer-firms and processors”, such as late payments for perishable food products; last minute order cancellations; unilateral changes to contracts; refusal to enter into a written contract; returning unsold or wasted products; and payment for buyer’s marketing, must be brought to an end to achieve fairness for Irish farming.
- Urgently need a new deal for farmers to support them to protect threatened habitats and species. “It is necessary that farmers are given an “explicit” role in the protection of that biodiversity and they are financially supported in taking on this role.”