ICSA urges Food Vision group to examine sheep markets – Agriland


September 5, 2022 1:45 pm
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has urged the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to convene a meeting of the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group to discuss current sheep markets.
Sheep chair at the ICSA, Sean McNamara has called on Minister McConalogue to examine sheep markets and to provide an outlook for the sector.
Substantial price drops in recent weeks, while other markets seem to be more and more inflationary, have caused frustration among sheep farmers, according to McNamara.
The ICSA sheep chair said that although a lot of work has been done to open international markets and to develop EU markets, this does not seem to be yielding results for the sheep sector.
At current lamb prices of around €6/kg, there is no profitability in sheep farming at a time when all input costs have gone off the charts, according to McNamara who added that sheep farmers need better prices.

“Some markets such as the USA, Sweden and other EU destinations have the potential to deliver significantly improved returns to farmers, but there seems to be various reasons why this is not being developed.

“Some markets such as the USA, Sweden and other EU destinations have the potential to deliver significantly improved returns to farmers, but there seems to be various reasons why this is not being developed.
“We need to look at how the less intensive, biodiversity-friendly system of sheep farming can be better communicated and monetised. The carbon footprint of most sheep farms is low, and this is not being recognised,” he said.

The ICSA is calling on sheepmeat processors to fully engage in addressing this issue. A frank exchange of views through the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group is needed.
The ICSA sheep chair added that farmers are also dismayed by the apparent lack of demand from processors, while, at the same time, there are significant numbers coming in from the north.
The sheep processing sector will not be sustainable if sheep farmers here cannot make a profit, and there are already signs of significant culling of ewes,” according to McNamara.

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