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Beef Price Index improves
price transparency
6
DECEMBER 2019
Upfront
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
The introduction of a Beef Price
tracker Index for Ireland's main beef
exports has been broadly welcomed.
This is the fi rst time that an
independent body has brought all the
information together on one site and
made it publicly available. The all-
important `Fifth Quarter' is also being
tracked indirectly.
Use will be made of USDA fi gures
for comparison as no relevant data
is available from European countries.
Anything which adds greater
transparency to beef prices and has a
clear analysis of beef market facts is a
positive development. In particular it
eliminates the kind of misinformation
that has been going around in the
past few months.
The facts are what farmers need.
What is immediately clear from
the initial report is that the beef
price trajectory is improving with
justifi cation for a signifi cant beef price
increase from Irish processors.
The Index is referenced against UK,
French, German, Italian, Swedish and
Dutch prices.
These are the markets for ninety
percent of our beef exports and will
provide the vital price comparisons
needed to indicate where Irish
beef pricing should be. The IFA
Beef Secretariat would have had at
least indirect access to this type of
information on an ongoing basis
and IFA probably read the tea leaves
last August and saw that there was
little hope of a price rise at that
time. Instead of embracing the beef
protests the IFA took the pragmatic
decision to access EU funding to
compensate for beef farm losses, a
route which delivered the 100 million
BEAM scheme, even if that turned
out to be less than fully subscribed
because of some unpalatable
restrictions on the fund.
As a multi-media company IFP Media understands
more than most the direct correlation between
increased costs and reduced income. Last month's
leak in the Irish Times and the subsequent interview
with RTÉ DG Dee Forbes leaves us bewildered. The
reduction in RTÉ's advertising income was well fl agged
by the industry.
Contrast the current situation RTÉ fi nds itself in,
compared to 20 years ago, when the semi-state body
held a monopoly position in TV and radio broadcasting
and RTÉ charged through the nose for it through
advertising revenue as well as licence fees. The scene
has changed: advertising on TV is contracting, radio
is holding its own, specialist media is surviving, local
radio and provincial newspapers are severely hurting.
But that's not the issue for RTÉ. The issue is poor
management, not adapting to new market conditions.
Imagine any company saying it is owed 35m in
outstanding TV licence fees, while at the same time
looking for a Government hand-out. They would
be told by any bank, `collect your monies'. Why not
link the licence fee to the ESB bill, or propose the
use of Revenue to e ciently collect licence fees or
create a new company, owned by RTÉ, to collect the
outstanding monies? If you are watching the Ryder
Cup or any Premier league fi xture on SKY, and your
subscription is not up to date, you're switched o ,
simple as that. So, the answers to RTÉ's woes are simple
enough: make the hard decisions now, collect your
fees and reduce your cost base.
RTÉ makes some great programmes both on TV and
radio; they have talented people working for them, but
how does TV3 do it with less income, no licence fee
and far fewer sta ? It is a simple business equation. RTÉ
has to cut its cloth to measure and make itself fi t for
purpose.
Not a lot of sympathy for RTÉ plight