FARMERS JOURNAL – 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
Irish Cattle and Sheep Association president Patrick Kent has said that he is increasingly concerned about the ongoing delays and lack of clarity around the tagging approval process for cattle.
Patrick Kent said that although the ICSA is “fully in favour” of competition for the supply of cattle tags as the best way of ensuring value for money, the organisation is worried about the narrow time frame in which to complete the approval process..
“The ICSA is concerned that the Department has left it very late to get the approval process completed in good time and is now depending on emergency Brussels approval,” he said.
The current contract for cattle tags, supplied by Mullinahone co-op, expires on 31 October. Ireland needs to get Brussels approval on the new cattle tags before 1 November so that farmers will be able to tag their animals as required under EU law.
Farmers need to have all tagging options in place in good time
This year, the Department decided to move from a single tag supplier model to a multiple tag supplier model after rival companies to Mullinahone lobbied the Department to divide the contract between several suppliers.
The tender to supply around 2.2m tags annually is worth €18m over three years.
Kent also said that the ICSA understands that the Department met potential suppliers of tags on Thursday of this week. “It is very concerning that this process is still not solved with the deadline of 1 November only a few weeks away. Farmers need to have all tagging options in place in good time and farmers cannot be held accountable for tagging delays if the Department has not got its own approvals regime sorted.”
The Irish Farmers Journal contacted the Department of Agriculture for comment on the ICSA’s statement, but has yet to receive a response.