Donoghue delighted by controls on Brazilian beef

IFA Chairman in County Roscommon Bernard Donoghue this week said that he is delighted that the European Commission has agreed to bring in increased controls on Brazilian beef imports from January 31st next. ‘We would be absolutely delighted, we would have invested a lot of time and energy in this campaign. There has been a lot of disappointments over the last two years and we are delighted to see our position being vindicated and finally to see the European Commission taking action on this. ‘It has gone on a long time and ideally we would like a total ban, but it is an acknowledgement that there is a problem. At the end of the day, there has to be an equivalency of standards between European food and food that is being brought in from outside. Hopefully this will make a considerable difference in the plight of winter finishers and Roscommon beef farmers. We are delighted that at long last we have got some official recognition.’ In terms of volume, Mr. Donoghue is also hopeful that the volume of beef coming into Europe from Brazil will be significantly reduced following this week’s decision. ‘As it stands, Brail consumes 90 percent of what it produces, the export 10 percent. There is a feeling out there that a lot of their land is going into sugar cane and biofuel production and beef and beef production is moving to poorer areas. If they have to comply with higher standards, they might reduce their exports. ‘I would think it will make a significant difference in the volume coming into Europe. We would be hoping that the volume would be reduced by half. At a national council meeting in Dublin yesterday (Tuesday), there were hopes it will make a difference of 10p per lb in the price of beef. That would be very significant for winter finishers, but the biggest impact is for the consumers. There is veterinary evidence that the produce in Brazil is not of a standard required in Europe. The biggest impact will be on the supermarket shelves in Britain and France and Italy and our hope is that they consumers will look on European produce more favourable and they will be prepared to pay a little more for it. It costs €3 per kilo to produce in Ireland and they are able to import it from Brazil at €1.50. We could never compete at that price, but it’s a different standard in terms of quality control.