Speaking ahead of a meeting with Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to discuss the current dairy crisis, IFA President Eddie Downey warned against excessive talking down of the milk price despite current market turbulence.
He said, “We are facing into a challenging time for our dairy farmers, but we have also to recognise that we have an excellent quality product and strong links to various markets. Urgent Government and EU action is required but banks, co-ops and Teagasc will also have to play a much stronger role in assisting farmers to deal with the reality of milk price volatility”.
IFA National Dairy Chairman Sean O’Leary said he would impress upon Minister Coveney the need to learn from the 2009 collapse on how EU supports must be utilised rapidly to turn around market sentiment, and prices. “Minister Coveney must work hard with Commissioner Hogan and his European colleagues to deliver additional EU support measures urgently, to reduce as much as possible the duration of this market downturn.”
Mr O’Leary reminded Minister Coveney that farmers must not be forced to bear the costs of the Russian trade ban which has exacerbated the current downturn in dairy markets.
“IFA is calling on Minister Coveney to ensure the current EU private storage scheme is strengthened by re-opening it to cheese and extending the storage period to match the duration of the Russian ban.”
“Secondly, Minister Coveney must insist that EU intervention safety-net levels are substantially increased to reflect the increased costs of production, which in Ireland are running 6c/l above intervention levels.”
“Thirdly, the EU must use targeted export refunds to assist the European exporters who have been locked out of the Russian market, and to help them secure alternative markets.”
Finally, with Minister Coveney forecasting the superlevy bill at up to €110m, Mr O’Leary called on the Minister to take the lead in Brussels in battling for a reduced butterfat co-efficient and an extended five-year superlevy payment period.