The Beef Market Taskforce must reconvene for a meeting via video link, according to Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
The taskforce has not met since January of this year. While it was hoped that a meeting would be arranged for some time in March, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to it.
Speaking on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “It is imperative that the taskforce is reconvened as soon as possible. If the stakeholders have to meet via video link, then so be it.
“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.
“Beef prices are languishing around 340c/kg at present and farmers are finding difficult to sell cattle due to livestock marts operating limited services due to the restrictions in place in light of Covid-19.
“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.
“Beef farmers cannot be expected to continue producing beef at such low prices. The Covid-19 outbreak has inflicted more pressure on the sector, and the department needs to reconvene the taskforce as a matter of urgency.
“Livestock farmers are struggling for cashflow at present and the apparent lack of information or leadership from the department is leaving them increasingly 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.
Michael Fitzmaurice TD 086-1914565