With the tradition of eating lamb at Easter and the Islamic Ramadan set to begin less than a fortnight later on April 23, the drop back to prices in the €5.50 to €5.60 levels at the factories should prove a temporary blip, the chairman of the IFA National Sheep Committee, Sean Dennehy, assured sheep farmers.
The disruption caused by the restrictions in the effort to combat Covid-19 has been having an impact and the closure of restaurants and much of the food service sector has bitten but there has also been a higher demand in the retail trade which balances the situation somewhat.
To date this year, the sector has processed 100,000 more lambs than it did in 2019. “This is the time of year when supplies are at their lowest and our domestic market is the most important one,” he said.
At a time of unprecedented fracture to social and economic life, it is essential that the processors and farmer-producers of beef work in consort to ensure that there are supplies of high-protein food available to anyone.
The chairman of the IFA National Livestock Committee, Brendan Golden, has urged the factories not to damage the beef trade by making any further cuts to prices. The Association has also submitted a detailed schedule of proposals to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to assist the case for further supports at EU level to ensure the continuity of supply.
“With orderly marketing, cattle supplies are expected to tighten over the next number of weeks and this should help steady the trade,” he said. In the meantime, “the IFA is demanding that all non-EU beef imports, especially South American beef imports, which fail to meet EU standards, should be suspended.”