The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) have called for market support measures in light of the recent decision by McDonald’s to close all of their outlets in Ireland and the UK.
ICSA beef chairman, Edmund Graham, has called for measures such as Aids to Private Storage (APS) or intervention to ensure the price of beef does not drop any further.
“In these extraordinary times, it is absolutely vital that we do everything possible to keep cattle farmers in business.”
“Cattle farmers are already extremely vulnerable, and we need to immediately re-set the intervention reference price to ensure price does not drop below current levels,” Graham added.
‘Even more vulnerable now’
The farm organisation stated that it recognises that many sectors will be hugely impacted by Covid-19, but it is critical to understand that beef farmers are already struggling at the current market price and are even more vulnerable now.
The closure of McDonald’s represents a loss of over 3,000 tons of beef per month, much of which goes to UK outlets as well as Irish outlets.
“There is increased demand for beef on supermarket shelves and that could support beef price. However, this is not a time for gambling and the introduction of market support measures is vital to keep price stable.”
The farm lobby group said it has contacted the Minister of Agriculture, urgently requesting that the matter is at the top of the agenda when the EU agricultural ministers hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday (March 25th).