IFA President Tim Cullinan said he had full confidence in our dairy co-ops to continue processing all milk during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our dairy industry has been a real success story. The expansion since quotas were removed has been good for farm families, good for employment in the agri sector and good for rural Ireland, where more economic activity is badly needed,” he said.
“The reality is that our grass-based milk production system is seasonal and we are at maximum output in May. However, our dairy co-ops have invested in the extra capacity to handle this. Talk of once a day milking is unhelpful and impractical,” he said.
“Obviously the COVID-19 crisis poses some additional risks, but with proper co-operation and contingency planning between processors, and engagement with suppliers, it should be possible to manage,” he said.
“What we really need is an EU scheme to help co-ops across Europe to store processed product, known as Aids to Private Storage (APS), as there may be short term challenges in the market place where some markets are more difficult to access due to the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
“I want to conclude by thanking all of those working in the processing sector, hauliers and all those in the supply chain for the work they are doing, including those in Department of Agriculture. Our farmers are working around the clock to keep food on the shelves,” he said.
“I am confident that if we all work together, and with some support from the EU Commission through APS support, we will get through this crisis,” he said.