IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin will lead a delegation of senior officers and commodity chairmen to Brussels on Monday for the Farm Council meeting, which will consider the market support measures needed to address the income crisis. Discussions will also be held with Commission officials on direct payments and amendments to the Rural Development Plan.
The IFA delegation will meet the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to consider the proposals from the Council of Ministers meeting.
Jer Bergin said, “Minister Coveney must obtain a suspension of Superlevy payments for 2016 – a suspension of at least one year for repayments to give farmers real cash flow relief. In addition, he must also demand the suspension of import tariffs on fertiliser, to create greater competition on EU markets, and reduce farmers’ costs meaningfully.
“Intervention buy-in must exceptionally this year continue at full price even when maximum levels have been reached, and a comprehensive review of the intervention scheme must be announced and started. APS must be also extended, and the enhanced SMP scheme made more flexible by removing penalties for early withdrawal.
“The maximum limit to state aids – the de minimis clause – currently set at €15,000 over three years per farmer, must be doubled to €30,000 to facilitate national farmer support initiatives, including the type of tax proposals put forward by IFA to deal with volatile incomes.
“Just as important as what measures we need from Europe are the measures that should be resisted. Talk of EU wide production management based on incentives or penalties are retrograde, ineffectual, and must be rejected. Not only can they not impact dairy prices determined on the global scene, they would be deeply unfair to progressive EU farmers who have invested to grow their business in response to growing global demand in the legal certainty that quotas were at an end.”