ICSA beef chairman Edmond Graham has said that farmers will have to see a dividend from the opening of the Chinese market before it can be judged a success.
"After a long, hard and expensive winter, the price of beef is simply nowhere near good enough for winter finishing. Beef price needs to go to a base price of €4.25/kg in the short term to cover the costs of this winter. Farmers have been listening to optimism about China for five years, but it is no use to us if it does not result in a price rise," said Mr Graham.
"There can be no doubt that the opening of the market should allow for better prices because meat factories will have options. They will be in a stronger position to negotiate with EU supermarkets, and this opportunity must be used to drive a better price for farmers," said Mr Graham.
He pointed out that that Minister Creed had stated that this move was in line with the market development theme of Foodwise 2025, but, he asked, will it just end up costing farmers more.
"We have seen that increased production has certainly resulted in more work and more pressure for farmers but not necessarily more reward. The focus has to be on ensuring that new markets have a tangible benefit to farmers,: he said.
Meanwhile, IFA president Joe Healy said: "This is positive news for the Irish beef sector and as the Minister has said, the key issue for Irish farmers is that it will deliver a higher margin and price back to them."
However, he warned that it was important that the terms and conditions attached to access for Irish beef were not "overly stringent".
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