Beef farmers and the people buying meat in the shops are being fleeced by “secret margins” in the industry Galway East TD Denis Naughten has claimed.
The Independent TD said that there is incredible frustration among beef farmers around Ireland as a direct result of “the failure of the meat industry to provide any transparency on their margin or the price they can secure for beef on export market”.
Speaking at Castlerea Agricultural Show on Monday Denis Naughten said: “Not only are Irish beef farmers being fleeced but Irish shoppers are also funding these ‘secret margins’ which are pushing the cost of beef out of the reach of many more families.”
He said that the further meat travels from the farm gate, the less information is available to anyone about how it is priced.
“While there is a large volume of information available on what the beef farmer sells his cattle for at either the mart or meat plant, there is a distinct lack of information on margins in the processing sector or the farmers’ share of the carcass price received on EU markets by processors, including the volumes & value of specific cuts.”
“This has also been articulated by farmers in terms of the price obtained by processors for the ‘fifth quarter’ for which the farmer does not receive a cent.”
Deputy Naughten has recently called for an emergency beef summit amid nationwide protests by farmers over falling prices in the beef sector.
The summit should include representatives from all levels of the sector he said, from beef farmers and processors, through to the end user, the shoppers.
““At that summit, Minister Creed must commit on behalf of Government to fast-tracking through the Dáil next month the new EU law which will ban 16 unfair trading practices covering agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain.”
Deputy Naughten said that he has carried out a survey which shows that the share of the price of been going to farmers has dropped by a quarter in the past 15 years, leaving many farmers at risk of being put of business, he claimed.
According to his data, the average price per kilo of round roast received by farmers in 2005 was €2.80. While shoppers would pay €6.59 in the supermarket, a mark-up of 135%.
Compared to now, when beef farmers receive an average of €3.76 according to Denis Naughten, and shoppers are paying €11.99, a 218% mark-up.