UFU disappointed by NIMEA’s apathetic attitude towards beef producers

Tuesday, 11 February, 2014

Following an urgent meeting yesterday (10 February) to discuss the considerable drop in beef prices over the last few weeks, the Ulster Farmer’ Union has expressed its disappointment at NIMEA’s indifferent attitude towards beef producers.
UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “The Union has been very concerned in recent weeks in relation to the startling decline in beef prices and unfortunately following today’s meeting those feelings have not been abated. It appears that while the meat plants recognise the challenges facing beef farmers, particularly at this high cost time of year, there doesn’t seem to be much will to address the situation. In fact, it looks likely that there will be further downward pressure on beef prices in the coming months towards a possible realignment with European prices.
“The excuse we heard today was that the drop in price is a result of the market correcting itself following the effects of the horsemeat scandal last year, which is ironic given that it was the pressure for cheap meat which led to the horsemeat disaster in the first place. It would seem that many of the promises made in the wake of ‘horsegate’ have been forgotten and rather than being paid a fair price for top quality, safe, and traceable beef, farmers margins are going to be squeezed once again so other partners in the supply chain can make a profit. Beef farmers are already struggling to make a living off the current price and further drops will only erode confidence. The industry is heading into dangerous territory and this dramatic drop in beef prices will have a very significant detrimental impact. For Northern Ireland to sustain, let alone grow, a strong red meat industry we must have a solid foundation of raw material which will only be delivered by profitable primary producers, without this the sustainability of the entire industry, including processors, is at risk.”