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Minister McConalogue welcomes Beef Taskforce outcomes

Following today’s meeting of the Beef Taskforce, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., commented as follows,  “I am pleased to announce that at today’s meeting of the Beef Taskforce, stakeholders agreed in principle to support the draft application for PGI status for Irish Grass Fed Beef.  My Department will now complete the remaining necessary steps in this process.  I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all concerned in progressing a PGI application for Irish Grass Fed Beef.  If approved, this PGI status has the potential to improve the market positioning of Irish beef at a time when it is most badly needed.” 

The Minister stated, “if the PGI application is approved in due course by the EU Commission, it has the potential to enable Ireland’s beef offering to be strongly positioned in terms of our unique quality, grass fed product. specifically called out as Irish, and with benefits for all those in the supply chain, principally the primary producer.”

The Beef Taskforce also agreed in principle that, if successful, a PGI Monitoring Group will be established to report to the Taskforce on progress on a regular basis, with a majority farmer representation. 

 Minister McConalogue said, “I will be raising two issues with the Commission in submitting the final application

- reflecting strong views from some stakeholders, I will be making the point that grass-fed young bulls should be included, when further data on this cohort is available to support this. 

- reflecting discussions with my counterpart in Northern Ireland, that Ireland would support the PGI being extended on an all-island basis, when a grass-fed verification system is in place in Northern Ireland.” 

 The TaskForce also supported a proposal from Bord Bia for a programme of suckler beef promotion and the development of a brand proposition for Irish Suckler Beef, with a budget of up to €6 million over the next three years, subject to annual review of progress.  This annual review, which will be overseen by a monitoring group with majority farmer representation, will assess progress in relation to the creation of market demand by differentiating Irish suckler beef and the ability of the brand to deliver improved returns.  This work will begin immediately. 

The Minister welcomed the commitment by stakeholders to work together in the development of a suckler brand that resonates in the marketplace and we can all stand over and support. 

Minister McConalogue concluded, “Budget 2021 provided significant funding for the livestock sector, particularly in the form of targeted supports for suckler beef farmers. These schemes will support suckler farmers to improve the environmental and economic performance of their beef animals, while recording actions which will assist in demonstrating their environmental and welfare credentials. I hope that these schemes can be built on and developed in preparations for the next round of CAP. These supports will align well with the development of a brand proposition for Irish suckler beef.’’

Notes for Editors:

Under the EU quality schemes, achieving Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) recognition for products enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better.  One of the actions agreed in the Beef TaskForce Beef Stakeholder Agreement of September 2019 was that “DAFM and Bord Bia are actively engaging with the EU Commission on the development of a PGI for Irish beef”.   The Programme for Government includes a commitment to “Work at EU level for the development of a PGI for Irish beef”. A successful PGI application to the European Commission would allow Irish beef which meets the specification to bear the PGI logo.  

 This agreement is without prejudice to any oppositions submitted though the national opposition procedure for the PGI application launched by the Department, as required under EU Regulation No. 1151 of 2012, on 14 August 2020 and ending on 11 September 2020. It is expected that responses to those oppositions will be issued shortly.  

 The development of the application is an agreed action of the Beef Sector Agreement of September 2019 and is also a commitment under the Programme for Government.   

 

ENDS

Date Released: 23 October 2020