Dáil Éireann - Volume 503 - 28 April, 1999

Written Answers. - Beef Task Force.

61. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when the beef task force will report; the safeguards and specific actions which will be contained in order to ensure that producers receive fair returns from processors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10990/99]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): The beef task force is expected to submit its report to me shortly. When I set up the task force last November I asked for a strategic plan of action to deal with the major problems in the sector covering the whole industry to enable it to be put on a firm footing. At the first meeting of the task force on 18 November 1998, the group, under the chairmanship of the secretary general of my Department, agreed the following terms of reference: to devise an action plan for the development of the beef industry covering the whole sector from primary production through to processing and marketing with a view to enabling the sector to overcome the obstacles impeding its development and to generate better returns from the markets.

While the scope of the report will, therefore cover the full range of activity in the sector from the farmgate to the consumer it is clear that for the plan to succeed, it is essential that producers must be adequately rewarded for high quality production. I understand that the task force has given considerable attention to this area in order that the Irish beef industry can recover and increase market share on the high priced EU export markets.