No quick fixes for the sheep sector

DEVELOPING the sheep sector as envisaged by the Malone Report does not and cannot involve a quick-fix solution, according to Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan.

Launching Bord Bia’s spring lamb campaign at Roscommon Lamb Festival, she said the sector is facing many challenges, not least of which is the return available to producers.

“There must be a fair margin to encourage producers to stay in production. Otherwise, the industry will reach a critical level where production and processing are unsustainable.

“No one wants that and that is why efforts were made to chart the way forward through the setting up of the Sheep Strategy Development Group under John Malone, whose report sets out a blueprint for development of the industry,” she said.

Ms Coughlan said a lot of progress has been made since the report was published last year. Her Department has been busy working to implement the report’s proposals in the areas of breeding, mechanical grading and REPS. Bord Bia and Teagasc are also making a positive contribution.

“The sector is aware that, since decoupling, the market will only provide better returns if it is offered quality product and the recommendations in the Malone report have to be seen as a set of interdependent measures to achieve that purpose,” she said.


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