Below-cost sale of Irish beef should be banned, report recommends

Below-cost sale of Irish beef should be banned, report recommends
The report notes the beef sector is faced with a combination of negative forces including CAP reform, Brexit, European Union and global beef market conditions.

A ban on below-cost selling is recommended in an Irish Farmers Association report on the beef sector.

It also calls for the appointment of a retail regulator and warns that unsustainable discounting should not be allowed as it is not in the interests of farmers, processors or consumers.

The report, by economist Jim Power, notes the beef sector is faced with a combination of negative forces including CAP reform, Brexit, European Union and global beef market conditions and the proposed Mercosur trade deal.

The negatives list also includes environmental considerations, the weak position of beef producers in the domestic supply chain, and the growth of beef animals from the dairy herd.

Irish suckler beef production is challenged, according to the report, which says policymakers have to decide if it is a sector worth supporting.

Mr Power said if stronger support is not forthcoming, many existing operators will go out of business.

This would have very negative consequences for economic and social life in large swathes of rural Ireland, the natural landscape, and agri-food exports, he said.

Maintaining the CAP budget in real terms with extra payments for further environmental asks on farmers is also urged in the report, which also calls for a full investigation into competition in the beef sector.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said the report demonstrates the number one factor all farmers in 2020 has to be the fight for a fair CAP budget.

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