ICSA Organics chair Fergal Byrne has said unless processors up their prices for organic cattle there is little hope of enticing livestock farmers to switch to organics. “This week we have seen the prices paid for conventional cattle exceeding those paid for organic cattle. This is completely unsustainable when you consider the higher costs involved in rearing organic cattle,” he said.
“It should come as no surprise to anyone that it is more expensive to produce organic beef, due to lower volume of farm output, and farmers need to have confidence when they go to sell their produce that this will be taken into consideration. There is absolutely no incentive for farmers to go to the extra expense of producing organically when those producing conventionally are getting paid more.”
“We need to question why this is happening and if there is any prospect rectifying the imbalance. It is clear more resources must be put into securing new markets for organic produce as well as the marketing of organic produce. While additional money has been put into the Organics Scheme serious questions remain around whether there is a solid strategy to build our organic exports and deliver premium prices at meat factory level and at Bord Bia level.”
“Government policy is to encourage more farmers to switch to organics, but we must be able to demonstrate that it is a financially viable option. However, as things stand that is very difficult to do and the job will get even harder if we cannot re-establish a premium of at least €1/kg extra for organic cattle.”