£200,000: The Weekly Cost on NI Beef Farmers

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says lower prices being paid to local beef farmers compared to cattle prices in the rest of the UK are now costing Northern Ireland producers over £200,000 per week.
calendar icon 2 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The UFU says an unjustifiable gap has emerged between the prices paid for cattle in Northern Ireland and cattle produced in England, Scotland and Wales. Union Deputy President Harry Sinclair said; “The price differential is now a huge penalty on local beef farmers. In fact if this continues it will cost local beef farmers almost £1 million each month, when comparing our average prices to the prices paid for cattle in GB”.

Harry Sinclair said; “Our beef is being produced to the same standards as GB cattle, and being sold in the same market place. There is no justification for prices in Northern Ireland being lower than in other parts of the UK. We have now quantified the weekly cost to producers and it is clearly an issue which has to be addressed. Northern Ireland must not be used as a cheap source of beef; our farmers have spent the last decade reaching the highest levels of traceability, environmental and animal welfare standards”.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union challenged the NI Meat Exporters Association, representing local meat processors, on the price differential issue at a meeting this week.

Harry Sinclair added; “Meat plants and UK retailers must address this issue. It is an unacceptable and unfair trading practise in our beef supply chain. In February and March this year there was virtually no price differential between Northern Ireland and GB farmers; now our prices are 7 to 14 pence per kilogram less than farmers are receiving in England, Scotland and Wales. I would encourage farmers to market their cattle strongly and under these conditions they should also seriously consider selling their cattle live into the GB market”.

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