2019-07-05  facebooktwitterrss

UK Beef Industry being Traded Away for Pennies

The future of the British beef industry is being traded away for pennies, warns the National Beef Association (NBA).

The National Beef Association has called for an urgent meeting and investigation with EFRA. With every penny removing over £110,000 from UK beef farmers, the reductions are ensuring more suckler cattle disappear from British farms. 

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The NBA says the lack of competition in the UK beef industry is now totally evident, with bid prices from the major processors staying on a par, and movements always the same way.

“Talk of further reductions next week demonstrates the contempt that processors are showing for farmer producers,” says Chris Mallon, NBA chief executive. “Another 5p/kg drop takes away another £500,000 from struggling family businesses.”

Mr Mallon adds,
“The reasons being given, appear to come from the ‘big book of processor excuses’, which seems to be given to all procurement officers.

“Reasons have included poor trade for offal, poor trade for hides, and struggling consumer demand. All would have some credence if these same companies were not importing product to fill UK supermarket shelves.”

The NBA and its members are facing a complete imbalance in power, with the farmer on the losing side. Producers have no access to an ombudsman to query trading practices, and as such are powerless.

Mr Mallon explains,
“Our concerns are wide-ranging, and include origin of imports and subsequent labelling, Brexit stockpiling and the subsequent unloading on to the UK market, and the absence of contracts that leave profit, but put all the risk on the producer.

“But we are also seeing market manipulation, for example one consignor being told there is a 3-week waiting list, while another is approached for additional cattle for immediate consignment. Retailers are also continuing to demand commercially sensitive information from farmer suppliers.”

In a strong call to action, Mr Mallon concludes,
“We feel our concerns are worthy of time and investigation at committee level with EFRA, and as such we have requested a meeting to air our concerns. The future of the industry is being damaged, and the viability of the sector is at risk as numbers drop which will ultimately hit food security for British consumers.”


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