17 June 1998
Industry set to back MLC
in MAFF review
By FWi staff
THE National Farmers Union and the National Beef Association have already hinted that they will support the continued existence of the Meat and Livestock Commission.
Lord Donoughue, junior farm minister, announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the Government would carry out a comprehensive review on the MLCs role and activities. The review is standard procedure which all quangos must undergo every five years.
According to Robert Foster, chief executive of the National Beef Association, the MLC does a lot of unseen work, and the shift back to eating beef would have been a lot slower without the commission.
However, he said farmers could justifiably feel aggrieved by the overwhelming influence retailers wield over the MLC when they contribute nothing to its coffers. Livestock producers contribute two-thirds of the MLCs running costs.
“Maybe its time to educate retailers who want increased traceability and quality assurance as to why cattle are moved around the country to complete their production cycle,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stephen Rossides, NFU head of livestock, said the union would have to consult its members before making a submission, and therefore he didnt want to pre-empt any criticisms or recommendations.
“However, the MLC is a body which provides an important service and carries out a lot of promotional work on behalf of the industry, and we have always been supportive of its role,” he said.
Mr Rossides said the NFU had, on occasions, been critical of the MLCs activities in the past, and called for a number of changes. He said the union welcomed the MLCs decision to set up strategy councils for each of the red-meat sectors.
“We are supportive of the MLC, but it spends a lot of producers money and thats why we want to keep a close eye on it. But we wouldnt want to see it scrapped,” he said.
- Comments are welcome from all individuals, companies and organisations who have a view they wish to express. Submissions should be sent to Mrs Jackie Cahill, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Room 510, Whitehall Place (East Block), London SW1A 2HH, to arrive not later than Friday, 9 October, 1998.
- Meat and Livestock Commissions role scrutinised, FWi, yesterday (16 June)