The row among farmers with the beef industry is getting more serious with the blockade of lorries bringing cattle and workers layoffs.Good to see talks underway and hopefully a resolution can be found.
The protest, some say, did serve to highlight the problem but got very serious with staff layoffs and no production in factories.Is meat just a commodity?Could it be better branded and a better price achieved just as in cheeses and other food products.
Aldi for instance are pushing the Aberdeen Angus brand at the forthcoming Iverk show.Can better prices be achieved, and the farmers given a share? This could take time to build a brand with a premium price but might be the way forward given the Brexit situation and possible lower demand in the UK in the future.
Meat industry Ireland last week in a statement to the media acknowledged the right of suppliers to organise a peaceful protest; however the unlawful behaviour of some protestors at certain sites has caused significant and irreparable damage to the beef industry.They referred to intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers. Hopefully this is now in the past but the Beef Plan campaign with blockades really got serious and led to companies laying off employees in some cases.
We would hope that the blockade did not lead to businesses losing customers that they have supplied and developed over the past 20 years.Given the holidays there may have been enough stock to satisfy demand, but there has been industry damage nevertheless.A bigger marketing push will be needed for meat exports and the State should increase their marketing investment in securing outlets for Irish beef over many years. A bigger push in Europe and Asia is needed for Irish beef with strong brands. Factory owners claim that the actions by Beef Plan are creating serious health & safety risks and the potential for a serious accident / injury is a major concern for our members.