ICSA WELCOMES €6 MILLION COMMITMENT TO DEVELOPING SUCKLER BRAND 

 

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23 OCTOBER 2020

ICSA president Edmond Phelan has welcomed progress at the Beef Taskforce which went on late into the night (Thursday 22 October). “While ICSA would have preferred an exclusively suckler based PGI, the development of a suckler premium brand is now a real possibility with the backing of €6 million state funding and agreement that it would be overseen by a majority farmer representative committee.”

The agreement after weeks of protracted negotiations means that there the Irish application for grass fed beef PGI will be amended to allow suckler bull beef qualify and that the PGI will also be overseen by a majority farmer representative committee. “So there is now going to be two separate initiatives to improve the market image of Irish beef, one being the grass-fed PGI and the other is the new suckler brand. Each will be monitored by farmer controlled committees, which we hope can keep the emphasis on the primary producer.”

“However, this is only a start. ICSA fought very hard to ensure that the PGI committee can control the use of the PGI logo so that if it doesn’t deliver for farmers, it will have to be brought back to the drawing board. In particular, we insisted that the monitoring committee would have power to tackle abuses of the PGI and ensure that the added value is returned fairly to the farmer.”

“In particular, ICSA has been at pains to point out that farmers need to be in control of initiatives that are meant to benefit the primary producer. We have had to fight hard to ensure that these initiatives deliver for the farmers of Ireland. Too often, the beef sector has been seen as a vehicle to help Irish export figures or to enrich others along the supply chain.”

“ICSA had also argued that the level of funding for the suckler brand would indicate whether we were serious or not. The final proposal to double the previous offer to €6 million is progress and we welcome that. Today has also seen an acknowledgement that farmers need to have a majority in terms of the controlling committees and this has been achieved.”

“We expect to have further engagement with the Minister in the coming weeks.”

ENDS