Calls for Beef Market Taskforce to reconvene remotely

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Calls have been made for the Beef Market Taskforce to reconvene via video link after more than three months since its last meeting.

The Beef Market Taskforce last met in early January, and while there were tentative plans for it to meet again in March, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted those.

Galway Roscommon TD Micheal Fitzmaurice has said that it is “imperative” that the taskforce get back to work as soon as possible, an suggested that video conferencing should be used to enable this.

“A number of public representatives logged on recently to discuss a variety of issues with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and his officials. We have to take advantage of this technology when it is not possible to meet in person.”

The Independent TD said that beef prices are “languishing” at around €3.40 per kilo, and that limited services at marts due to Covid-19 restrictions are making it harder for farmers to sell cattle.

Fitzmaurice warned that beef farmers are struggling for cashflow at the present, and cannot be expected to continue producing at such low prices.

“While the department may be liaising with the stakeholders on a one-to-one basis, it is imperative that constructive discussions and debate can be facilitated between all of the stakeholders in order to devise a roadmap for the sector.”

“The Covid-19 outbreak has inflicted more pressure on the sector, and the department needs to reconvene the taskforce as a matter of urgency.”

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that the apparent “lack of information or leadership” from the Department of Agriculture is leaving farmers frustrated.

“There is no excuse not to hold a meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce via video link in the very near future,” he concluded.