ICSA demands reopening of live mart bidding

Mart sales are down in numbers in recent weeks and suggested that if the sector continues this way, mart closures will be the “inevitable” consequence, say the ICSA.

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has again called on Minister McConalogue to open the marts.

“ICSA wants to see a resumption of live bidding with all the social distancing safeguards alongside online bidding. The reality is that marts are an essential business and are an integral part of the food supply chain. Meat factories continue to operate as do supermarkets. But the supply of beef to the supermarket shelf begins with farmers and they need a fully functioning livestock mart system.”

Mr Graham went on to state that there have been Covid outbreaks in meat factories and none in yet identified in marts, “yet marts are being punished. Apart from the disastrous collapse in an online platform a couple of weeks ago, there are ongoing problems with broadband every week. In addition, the current level 5 restrictions have impacted the sale of pedigree bulls and while some bulls have been sold, many have been withdrawn before sale or due to lack of bidding. This reflects the reality that looking at a twenty second video is not good enough for a key decision about a breeding animal that will impact herd profitability for years to come.”

He went on to say that mart sales are down in numbers in recent weeks and suggested that if the sector continues this way, mart closures will be the “inevitable” consequence.

“This is not good for competition in the livestock trade. We have seen crystal clear examples of this with the cow trade in particular in 2020 where the marts provided significant gains for many farmers over selling direct to factories,” said Mr Graham.

“The situation has become untenable and Minister McConalogue must move to align marts with other essential food production operations so that primary producers can maintain their businesses.”

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