Farmers are considering creating further blockades in front of factories that process meat if they are not paid higher prices for the animals that they supply to them. This is according to the industry sources, farmers continue to be unhappy as the Beef Forum held on November 12, 2014 failed to address the issue of the difference in price per carcass of €350 between that being paid to British farmers, and the price paid out to farmers in the EU. Though a good number of factories that process beef have hiked their prices, Meatex are of the opinion that it is not a blanket increase that the farmers had been expecting.
The IFA’s executive council met on November 13, 2014 in Dublin in order to evaluate the outcome of the nine-hour long meeting of the Beef Forum. Eddie Downey, president of the IFA, expressed the council’s satisfaction as regards the significant progress that was made on issues related to specifications. He added that these issues had strained the relationship between the factories that process meat and the farmers who supply animals to them.
According to him, the issues included the elimination of limits in weight, reestablishment of the Quality Payment System, and the introduction of a new incentive payment on the basis of Quality Assurance for all of the steers and heifers starting January 1, 2015. However, he noted that a mood of deep frustration prevailed among the council members because of the failure on the part of the factories that process meat to pass on the benefits to farmers despite the prevalence of stronger prices in the main market.
Furthermore, he added that the county chairmen echoed the views of thousands of frustrated farmers in support of the 48-hour long protests held during the course of the second week of November. He also said that the farmers were determined that they would pursue their demand for higher prices and expect a positive response from the meat processing factories as regards the payments being made to them. According to Mr. Downey, the executive board of the IFA is scheduled to meet once again in continuation of the first meeting in order to make an assessment of the prevailing situation and decide as to what should be their next move.
Though he did not make any outright mention about further protests, indications are that further protests may be staged if further progress is not made on the pricing issue.