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Irish farmers petition European Commission to suspend non-EU beef imports

01 April 2020

The Irish Farmers’ Association has submitted a letter to the Government and European Commission urging a halt in beef exports from outside Europe.

According to the report, the move will support farmers in European countries as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The submission outlines a number of measures that would protect the livelihoods of Irish beef and dairy farmers as Europe contends with the coronavirus. Since both sectors are export-driven, widespread closures of restaurant and food establishments have hit the industry hard. Retail sales have only been able to make up for some of the losses, as other EU countries have relied on domestic suppliers to fill the gap.

Suggestions to strengthen the industry include subsidies for farmers and a pan-European strategy to encourage sales of EU beef products. Similar measures were suggested for Ireland’s dairy industry, which has been impacted by the slowdown in exports.

“The EU must be mindful of the importance of the agriculture and food sector in providing food security to EU citizens in the current crisis,” the report states.

“While some more domestically-oriented markets have seen increased retail sales at least partially offset the losses, this is not the case for the mainly export-oriented Irish agri-food sector.”

IFA president Tim Cullinane commented, “we are facing massive challenges across all sectors, but the beef market is now in turmoil. We need significant measures urgently.”

Read the full report here


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