IFA Presidential candidate Francie Gorman is warning that factories should not further undermine beef prices paid to farmers following the detection of a case of atypical BSE in a bovine animal in Ireland.

“While it’s disappointing that the Chinese market is temporarily closed, despite relatively low values of exports having gone there this year, factories should use not the situation to undermine beef prices paid to farmers,” said the County Laois farmer. “The price differential between Ireland and the UK is presently almost €400 a head, while Ireland is €0.30 a kilo behind the Bord Bia price tracker. Markets are strong and supplies are tightening which, in fact, necessitates an increase in prices being paid to farmers.”

Meanwhile, Gorman is urging Department of Agriculture officials to urgently engage with their Chinese counterparts to limit the disruption to Irish beef exports.

He continued, “Exports have unfortunately been suspended under the protocol agreed with China in 2018, and there is now understandable concern amongst producers following the two-and-a-half-year ban imposed by the Chinese government when a BSE case was detected in 2020.”

“Irish beef exports to China should resume without delay particularly in light of Department of Agriculture’s confirmation that there was no danger at any stage of the animal entering the human food chain. This case also illustrates that the checks and balances in the Irish food production system are world leading and are working efficiently,” added Gorman.

“It is critically important that the Department expedite its investigation into this case and that it engages immediately with Chinese officials regarding its findings in order to restore access to this high potential market for Irish producers,” he concluded.