As the Deputy will be aware, in accordance with competition law, neither I nor my Department have any role in determining market prices for any commodity, nor can I intervene in this process.
I am conscious that this has been a difficult year for the sector in terms of weather and the range of challenges associated with it. We have to acknowledge that input costs at farm level will be unexpectedly high this year as a result of fodder shortages.
At the last meeting of the Beef Roundtable on 3rd October I highlighted the need for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency. I urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development. It is essential that the position of the primary producer in the supply chain be improved if the industry is to build a sector for the future.