EU - European agriculture organisation Copa-Cogeca has called on the European Commission to take urgent action to improve the EU beef market situation.
The Chairman of Copa-Cogecas Beef Working Party Jean Pierre Fleury said that it is crucial to find new market outlets for the produce.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Fleury said: “There are serious problems on the EU beef and veal market.
"There is a lack of profitability in the sector, especially for the fattening systems due to rising production costs. With the increase in slaughterings and the loss of a key export market Russia, there is an urgent need to export more and find alternative markets for our produce."
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) have also recently voiced their dismay over the situation in the beef markets. ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan said he was disappointed with the lack of progress in recent meetings with the Irish agriculture minister on issues such as bull beef marketing and the classification grid.
"The beef crisis hasn't gone away, after all. Prices may have improved, but they are still well below where they should be given the strengthening of sterling and the drop in throughput," Mr Phelan said.
"The increase in calf births this year, combined with a decrease in live exports, will soon lead again towards over-supply, and the Minister must take action now to prevent a return of the crisis."
Discussing potential solutions to the problem, Mr Fleury said that the EU needs to encourage the opening of new markets through the removal of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade. He also stated the risk needs to be covered and export insurance could help with that.
“Particular attention should also be paid to the series of bilateral free trade negotiations being negotiated by the EU and the impact on the EU beef sector," Mr Fleury said.
"We also support the Commission’s initiative to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy. However, when it comes to the simplification of beef carcass classification system, we want to ensure that the system is safeguarded as it plays an essential role in triggering market measures in times of crisis and ensuring market price transparency."
Greater harmonisation across the EU should nevertheless be ensured, Mr Fleury concluded.
TheMeatSite News Desk