NBA Praises Good Apples in NIMEA’s All-Encompassing Barrel

US - There are good apples, as well as bad, in every barrel and the National Beef Association is keen to single out ABP, Dunbia and WD Meats as good apples which, unlike some members of the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA), do not put unwanted pressure on NI’s prime cattle prices by regularly importing large numbers of animals out of the ROI for immediate slaughter.
calendar icon 5 December 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

“These are outfits which despite their size, and undoubted influence, are committed to the maintenance, even expansion, of beef production in the Province and as a matter of policy do not import southern slaughter stock which, as the NBA has said many times, depresses NI’s prime cattle prices and deprives its beef farmers of much needed additional income,” explained the NBA’s Northern Ireland chairman, Oisin Murnion.

“It would be very pleasant to say the same about other NIMEA members. However the industry sources that confirm ABP, Dunbia and WD Meats abstention from imports for direct slaughter also corroborate the arrival some weeks of 26-28 double deckers from the ROI.

“From the point of the view of the future development of NI’s beef industry, this traffic is unfortunate. The arrival of these cattle may be of short term help to the companies themselves because it shrinks their unit costs while at the same time allowing them to take advantage of reduced purchase pressure, and easier prices, for the stock they buy in NI itself.”

“However it also impedes badly needed beef-farm improvement simply because feeders and breeders are prevented from enjoying similar price advantages to fellow farmers on the mainland and are therefore deprived of the investment income they need to take their businesses forward.”

“And this financial strait-jacket will eventually have a negative impact on the business aspirations of the good apples in NIMEA’s all-embracing barrel because they too will be faced with avoidable, and damaging, reductions in NI prime cattle output too.”

“The NBA, which has the long term interests of NI’s beef sector at heart, would like to see more NIMEA members follow the example of Dunbia, ABP and WD Meats and commit to new ideas to advance the collective earnings of all participants in its beef sector – as well as the Province’s economy itself.”

“This could include examination of the worth, or otherwise of NI adopting the PGI status that has fueled both cattle and beef prices in Scotland - or the adoption of a more precisely targeted export strategy which could see the delivery of more products onto markets which currently pay at least four times more than is offered within the UK.”

“But the most important thing at the moment is an increase in NI’s breeding cow numbers because if it contracts the beef sector in the Province will have no core.”

“Our clear view is that as long as prime cattle are trucked in from the south then the more likely it is that NI’s suckler herd will be thinned down further – and may eventually level out at negligible levels,” Mr Murnion added.

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