The ICMSA President, John Comer, has said that Bord Bia’s statement acknowledging the ‘deep anger and frustration amongst livestock farmers arising from the current difficulties in the beef market’ while at the same time reaffirming their commitment to the QPS Beef Grid, would do nothing to allay the growing anger at Mr Comer described as a wholly dysfunctional and deliberately confusing system. Mr Comer said that farmer anger was centred on the fact that despite the fact that while Bord Bia acknowledged that 90% of all finished beef is sourced from Bord Bia certified farms, the quality bonus paid out under the QPS beef grid appeared to be a massively lower per centage. The ICMSA President called on the Department to immediately publish on its Pricewatch website the exact per centages of cattle that were qualifying for the quality bonus under the QPS. He pointed out that the Department has this data at their fingertips and must now publish it so that a comparison could be made with Bord Bia’s figure of 90%.
“A few weeks ago ICMSA described Pricewatch as almost irrelevant in terms of the information it was providing. We’re now calling on the Department to take advantage of the opportunity to make Pricewatch relevant to farmers by publishing on a weekly basis the numbers of cattle that have qualified for the quality bonus under QPS and the factories where those cattle were processed. If the figures correspond approximately to the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme figures then we’ll know where we stand. But if – as farmers strongly suspect – the quality bonus figures being paid under the QPS are substantially below those of the Bord Bia, we’ll be able to ‘zero-in’ on where the problem lies and that will be within the factories’ walls. It is a matter of record that ICMSA – with a very few other voices – expressed deep unease when QPS was first mooted and then introduced. We predicted that the system would prove to be unwieldy and deliberately confusing and would quickly work to the farmers’ disadvantage and that is exactly what has happened. We derive no pleasure from being completely vindicated. It is especially surprising to see Bord Bia state that ‘QPS has operated successfully since its inception’. The question to be asked is: Successful for whom? ICMSA strongly supports Bord Bia’s QS Scheme but we have to see a situation where all the farmers participating in the scheme are adequately rewarded for their efforts and attainment of this high quality”, concluded Mr Comer.
Ends 18 July 2014.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office