An agreement has been reached after protests outside factory gates but picket lines remained in place
Northern Irish beef groups were meeting in response to the protests in Southern Ireland stating the unfair trading practices seen there were being mimicked across the UK.
An agreement has been reached in the Republic of Ireland, but picket lines remained in place.
The National Beef Association and Farmers for Action had come together under the banner of NI Farm Groups to discuss the crisis in a meeting on October 1.
A group spokesperson highlighted Irish processors owned 30 per cent of the abattoirs in the UK and controlled 70 per cent of the UK beef market.
The spokesperson said: “This amount of control has obviously reached an unsustainable dominant peak where farmers’ share of the financial cake is no longer tenable.”
The group said retailers and wholesalers had ‘a lot to answer for’ by putting extreme financial pressure on processors. It also highlighted increasing supplies of Polish beef in particular.
The spokesperson added with many farmers ‘on their knees’ and others seeing no future, the time had come for Northern Ireland to ‘play its part’ in supporting those in Southern Ireland.
Agreements were reached in talks last weekend to end the Irish beef dispute, but protests have continued outside factories.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) hailed farmer unity which led to a ‘realistic and deliverable agreement’ being reached.
IFA president Joe Healy said: “During a difficult endgame to the talks, the farm organisations stood together to get the best available outcome for farmers.”
Mr Healy admitted it was ‘far from a perfect deal’, with some aspects making an immediate difference and others needing further work.
The key elements of the deal included additional bonuses for in spec cattle and cattle between 30 and 36 months, with a beef price index to be rolled out to provide greater transparency.
An immediate review of the Quality Payment Grid would take place alongside an independent review of market and customer requirements.
Bord Bia would intensify promotional activity across key EU markets and China and develop a Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) for Irish Beef.
But some farmers were unwilling to abandon the picket lines without an uplift in the base price, with the deal only coming into effect when blockades were lifted.