More Needs To Be Done To Protect NI Beef Industry

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - While attending the European Commission’s Advisory Group on Beefmeat last week, convened by Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş, Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President Harry Sinclair stressed that more needed to be done to address the current volatility facing the beef sector.
calendar icon 27 June 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Harry Sinclair said: “Despite the price of beef being on the rise beef farmers are finding themselves worse off than they were five years ago. The cost of production continues to rise at an alarming rate negating any benefit of a higher farm gate price. If things continue on like this, the Northern Ireland beef sector will definitely be facing a crisis situation.”

The situation is no different elsewhere in Europe. According to a report by DG Agri, between 2004 and 2010 revenue in the EU beef sector rose by 18 per cent, however, during this same period operating costs increased by 24 per cent and gross margins decreased by 44 per cent.

Harry Sinclair continued: “The figures from DG Agri really say it all and since 2010 the gap between input cost and profit will have widened even further. The cost of production is far exceeding the price farmers are receiving for their meat and as a result farmers’ profits are being hit hard. This is not a sustainable situation and something needs to be done.

"The EU especially need to look at addressing fairness in the supply chain. It was encouraging that there was agreement at the meeting that appropriate fit for purpose measures need to be in place in order to protect the future of the industry, such as intervention and public storage, however, I have stressed that the current prices for these interventions are outdated and need to be reviewed.

“The beef industry in Northern Ireland, and across Europe, is facing very challenging times. It is vital that the European Commission realises the seriousness of the situation and ensures it is playing its part in protecting this key industry.”

Deputy President Harry Sinclair will return to Brussels at the end of this month for the next Advisory Group meeting on 29th June.

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