ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham. has again called on Minister McConalogue to open the marts.
The farm group wants to see a resumption of live bidding with all the social distancing safeguards alongside online bidding.
“The reality is that marts are an essential business and are an integral part of the food supply chain. Meat factories continue to operate as do supermarkets.”
“But the supply of beef to the supermarket shelf begins with farmers. They need a fully functioning livestock mart system. We have seen large scale Covid outbreaks in meat factories and none in marts, yet marts are being punished.”
Impacting pedigree bull sales
Also, apart from the “disastrous” collapse in an online platform a couple of weeks ago, there are ongoing problems with broadband every week, he added.
“In addition, the current level 5 restrictions have impacted the sale of pedigree bulls. While some bulls have been sold, many have been withdrawn before sale or due to lack of bidding.”
“This reflects the reality that looking at a twenty-second video is not good enough for a key decision about a breeding animal that will impact herd profitability for years to come.”
“It might be put up with if we had a guarantee that the current level 5 restrictions are only for six weeks, but soundings from NPHET are very pessimistic.”
ICSA has called on Minister McConalogue to “face up to the fact that if he does not deal with this issue now, it will be an ongoing disaster for most of 2021”.
“Mart sales are down in numbers in recent weeks. If we continue this way, mart closures will be the inevitable consequence. This is not good for competition in the livestock trade.”
“We have seen crystal clear examples of this with the cow trade, in particular, in 2020 where the marts provided significant gains for many farmers over selling direct to factories.”
“The situation has become untenable. Minister McConalogue must move to align marts with other essential food production operations so that primary producers can maintain their businesses.”