A bill aimed at preventing below cost sale of beef has made its way through the first stages of the Dail.
he “Equitable Beef Pricing Bill” was introduced by Aontu leader Peadar Tóibín who says the bill would get rid of the 30 month rule and force the beef industry to discuss fair prices for farmers.
He said the bill would “ban the below cost sale of beef, ensuring that farmers make at least a break-even price for their produce. It would do this for a year. It would force the Beef Barons to the table to discuss a real and fair price.
The bill, if enacted would also get rid of the illogical ‘30 month rule’ whereby farmers are paid a lower rate for an animal which is older than 30 months of age.
Tóibín went on to say that only a fraction of farmers are making enough off their farms to support themselves.
He said “many farmers are fighting for their family livelihoods and ability to survive. Of the 130,000 farmers in the state only 1/3 are making enough from the farm to support their families.
“Another 1/3 are surviving because the farmer is also working off the farm to supplement the family income. A full third of farmers are simply not earning enough to live at all. These farmers are being pushed into poverty, debt and off the land”.
“It is clear that the beef industry, as it currently constituted, is unsustainable. Beef farmers are selling their produce at below cost prices while a collection of processors and supermarkets multiples make astounding profits on the same product.
“The industry is structured in the most anti-competitive way. It operates as an oligopoly. A small number of producers exert enormous control over the sector. The beef barons and producers can control every aspect of the market, such as the price and all the conditions of sale.”