As the Deputy will be aware, the inaugural beef task force meeting, scheduled for 14 October, was prevented from proceeding. Since then, however, the independent chairman and my Department continue to engage proactively with task force members with a view to progressing the implementation of the provisions of the agreement. My Department and its agencies continue to progress the commitments to which they signed up under the agreement. The full text of the agreement between beef sector stakeholders, along with an update on the progress made to date on the action points, is available on my Department's website.
An immediate increase in a range of bonuses was announced as part of the 15 September agreement, and it has been confirmed to my Department that the bonus system is now in place. Initiatives in the agreement aimed at improving information along the supply chain included the commissioning of the following reports: an independent review of market and customer requirements, an independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal along the supply chain, and a summary of competition law issues relevant to the beef sector. My Department has issued a request for tender for these reports, with a deadline for receipt of tender responses of 12 noon on Thursday, 5 December, which will enable the award of the tender before the end of 2019.
In respect of market transparency initiatives, my Department has published an expert report on mechanical carcass classification review, introduced an appeals system for manual grading and initiated a consultation process on the transposition of the unfair trading practices directive, with a deadline for submission of 13 December. Bord Bia has developed a beef market price index model based on three components, namely, a cattle price index, a beef market price index, including retail and wholesale, and an offal price indicator. This is now available on the Bord Bia website.
Teagasc is significantly advanced in the first stage of the scientific review of the quality payment system grid. My Department also proactively engages with several potential beef producer organisations that have the potential to strengthen the bargaining power of beef farmers in the supply chain. Two beef producer organisations have been formally recognised by my Department in recent months.
I established the beef market task force to provide leadership to develop an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable pathway for the future of the beef sector. As I have previously stated, it is in the interests of everyone involved in the beef sector that the work of the task force goes ahead. I hope that all parties will agree to come together as soon as possible to progress this important work.