Leading economist, Jim Power, recommends that the Irish government should seek to obtain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Irish suckler beef.
In a report, commissioned by the IFA, he outlined that PGI would designate a product originating in a specific place, region or country, whose given quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and at least one of the production steps of which takes place in the region.
He noted that the status can only be granted to products that demonstrate “a consolidated and codified production tradition, an inseparable tie with the area of origin, an appropriate socio-entrepreneurial fabric and which succeed in achieving high qualitative levels, certified by external bodies of control, may aspire to obtaining and retaining the sought-after European Community designations and inscription in European register of PDO and PGI products”.
“Irish suckler beef could fulfil the requisite criteria, which would help create a strong brand and a higher value-added product.”
“It would also be important to create and market a strong Irish suckler beef brand.” Power added.
He said the fact suckler calves are reared by their mother and are grass-fed for most of the year “sends out a clear message” about the clean, green and grass-fed image of Irish beef.
He stated that the suckler herd is under pressure from low prices; high production costs; CAP changes; Brexit; increase protein competition and the climate agenda.
“Suckler farming is heavily dependent on direct payments and this support is likely to come under increased pressure in the next round of CAP funding.”
“The suckler herd is vital to the future success of the Irish beef sector.”