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Department to allow multiple suppliers for cattle tags – news welcomed by ICSA

Jul 14, 2016 | General News, ICSA in the Media | 0 comments

  • It is understood that the Department of Agriculture has been advised to change its current supplying system from a single supplier to multiple suppliers.
    It is understood that the Department of Agriculture has been advised to change its current supplying system from a single supplier to multiple suppliers.

The Department of Agriculture has cancelled the tender process for a single tag supplier. 

As revealed by the Irish Farmers Journal this Thursday, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed its decision to withdraw the request for tenders (RFT) seeking a single supplier for the provision of bovine eartags, which was published in May.

It is understood that the Department has been advised to change its current supplying system from a single supplier to multiple suppliers.

“The Department has decided to withdraw the RFT in the light of representations received from a number of interested parties,” it said in a statement to the Irish Farmers Journal.

A source close to the Government confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal that the decision was taken by the Department of Agriculture after legal advice was sought by a group of tagging companies involved in the process. They had argued that a single-supplier framework was anti-competitive.

The Department will now consider the adoption of an approval system which would enable approved suppliers, meeting specified standards and conditions, to supply tags in Ireland. The details of the approval process will be announced “shortly”.

Approved suppliers will be required to meet minimum standards relating to the quality of tags, quality of service, issuing of birth registration documents etc.

“The new approach, which will permit multiple suppliers to supply eartags, will be based on a robust approval system both of tags and suppliers,” the Department said.

“Approved suppliers will be required to meet minimum standards relating to the quality of tags, quality of service, issuing of birth registration documents etc., thereby ensuring that there would be no diminution in service standards to Irish livestock farmers.”

Welcomed news

Patrick Kent, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) today welcomed the government’s decision to open the tender.

Kent said; “ICSA is the only farm organisation to have campaigned for competition in the supply of cattle tags”.

He supported the announcement and said that the competition between suppliers “can only be a good thing, leading to better value for money for farmers”.

Contract

The existing single supplier contract, which is worth in the region of €20m, has been carried out by Mullinahone co-op in Co Tipperary. Mullinahone has held the provision of cattle tag distribution for the last 14 years and has acted as the sole company in that time.

The deadline for tenders had recently been extended until 19 July.

Concerns have been raised that a move to multiple suppliers could create pricing issues with companies targeting larger and, ultimately, more lucrative herds.

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