ICSA question benefit of access to US market

ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said gaining access to the US market for sheep meat will only be a worthwhile endeavour if actually puts extra money in farmers’ pockets.

  “Farmers have become increasingly sceptical as to whether the opening of new markets has any real benefit for them whatsoever. In the past, such announcements have not been followed by any strengthening of prices,” he said.

  “In theory, the more markets the better for farmers but the reality is that farmers have not seen tangible benefits in terms of price when it comes to the opening of international markets. Time and time again we have seen the same story play out; access to a new market followed by the same old hammering of farmers on price week after week”.

  Mr. McNamara said that due to rising inputs costs, farmers should be able to command €10 per kg for spring lamb this year but getting a fair price remains as problematic as ever for producers.

  “At the present time most sheep farmers are wondering how they are going to stay in business. The opportunity to export to US will no doubt be great news for the processors and for all others who make money off the backs of farmers. But the fanfare associated with opening new markets is only for those who are going to reap the rewards. It is reprehensible that primary producers continually get forgotten with all the hype,” he said.