FARM leaders representing the beef and livestock sector in Ireland, Spain, France and Italy have warned that producers can’t continue with cattle prices below the cost of production.
They met at the invitation of the Irish Farmers’ Association in Dublin to discuss market prospects and the future of the Common Agriculture Policy for the livestock sector.
IFA Livestock Committee chairman Michael Doran said uneconomic cattle prices are a major problem across Europe.
He said in the EU livestock farmers are facing into a fourth year of negative incomes and many are being forced out of business. All of the producer organisations are very concerned regarding the serious risk of a drastic reduction in beef production across Europe with significant consequences for food security and imports into the EU.
He said this is a very serious issue, not alone for EU policymakers, but also for Europe’s 500 million consumers. They rely on livestock farmers for the production of high quality safe beef produced to the highest environmental standards.
Mr Doran said the bodies representing the beef and livestock sector made it clear at the meeting in Dublin that the Common Agricultural Policy 2013 reform must be ambitious and positive for the beef and livestock sector.
The representatives were very clear the single farm payment must be fully protected. They recognised the different types of supports and the variability of production systems across the EU and insisted this must be accommodated.
Mr Doran said the next CAP must allow for an improvement in competitiveness of the beef and livestock sector. It is essential community preference is protected in this regard. European citizens will not accept double standards on beef imports, he said, adding that all beef imports must meet EU standards in respect of animal health, food safety and environmental controls.
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