The Beef Plan Movement is calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to engage with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) in to implement a minimum “sustainable” base price for beef and sheep meat.
The organisation said it can appreciate that this may be interpreted as “in contravention of the rules of free trade” and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) “may have concerns” in relation to this proposed initiative.
In a statement to That’s Farming, Hugh Doyle and Eamon Corley, joint chairpersons of the organisation, said: “However, the freezing of rent prices may similarly be interpreted as interfering with the rental market, but this proposal is publicly accepted as these are extraordinary times.”
They explained that setting a minimum sustainable base price for beef and sheepmeat may also be achieved by setting the European intervention price paid for beef and sheepmeat at the European average price.
“Either or both measures should be done in conjunction with the banning of the importation of meat products from outside the EU.”
They added that the announcement of the closure of livestock marts across the country will “paralyse” the beef and sheep industry at this very busy time of year.
It is for this reason, along with several other factors, that the organisation is requesting for the suite of financial support measures, announced on Tuesday (March 24th), to be made available to the farming community.
The Taoiseach revealed that the Government would provide over €7 billion and as part of that, a wage subsidy scheme to co-fund 70% of salaries up to a maximum of €38,000 per year. He also stated that the weekly subsidy would be €410 weekly.
The organisation is calling on the Government to make the full weekly payment of €585.71 available to all full-time beef, sheep and small-scale dairy farmers and a weekly payment of €410 available to all other part-time farmers until the current crisis is averted.
‘Quick access to cash’
Doyle and Corley said farmers are self-employed and do not have the benefit of an employer to pay the balance.
“This is the very least the farming community should be entitled to under the current circumstances.”
“Token measures and complicated EU support schemes, where farmers are required to spend money and comply with several measures to qualify for payments, will not be the correct approach for these circumstances.”
“Farmers need quick access to cash to inject into their local economy and to pay bills.” the statement concluded.