IFA President Tim Cullinan said the approval by the EU of a Belgian initiative to support companies that export at least 30% of turnover must be used by the Irish Government as a precedent to provide export credit insurance for the dairy and meat sectors.
“Other countries have invested over €1bn in their agri sectors to help them through the COVID-19 crisis, under State Aid rules. There is a real danger that we are being left behind,” he said.
IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Tom Phelan added: “The current level of support provided by the EU through the APS scheme, while important, is very limited. It is likely that the scheme will be fully utilised before the end of June, with Ireland having already used its entire cheese allocation of 2,180t and having put 5,665t of butter into storage last week”.
“Firming dairy futures and spot quotes as the world slowly comes out of lock down; the re-filling of food import pipelines; and the resumption of food services in many countries suggest dairy prices will recover in the coming months. However, the working capital and cashflow situations of processing co-ops and farmers will need additional supports,” he said.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said: “The meat market has also been badly hit by COVID-19, and farmers will need additional supports over and above APS. As well as direct EU supports for livestock farmers, export credit insurance under the recently improved EU State Aid rules, and the €2bn loan scheme which is to include farmers, are packages the Irish Government must deliver urgently,” he concluded.