€50m support package for farmers welcomed by IFA

Some farmers lost over €200 per slaughter when the price of beef fell during lockdown.

A support package of €50 million has been made available for beef finishers, to help them deal with income lost during the pandemic.

Prices for meat collapsed during lockdown, as restaurants and food service businesses closed across the world and farmers lost up to €200 per slaughter according to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).

The Government is now offering €100 per animal slaughtered during the lockdown period, with a limit of 100 payments per farm.

Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary says the re-opening of restaurants has helped, but the industry is still under intense pressure.

"There has been an increase in prices, and now they are similar to last year, but is is a very challenging market. It's a market that can change very quickly.

"We have an excellent an excellent product and excellent structures in terms of farmers who work incredibly hard to provide that product, but it is a market that needs constant attention."

President of the IFA, Tim Cullinane says this money will be a welcome relief for the sector.

"A lot of our beef here in Ireland is exported into Europe, along with the food services at home, which were closed as well, so it created a serious deficit in the market.

"At the time the price of beef fell, it was at about €3.60 per kilogram and it dropped down to as low as €3.20 in some cases, so farmers were losing in excess of €200 a head at the time."