Payments for the first phase of the EU production scheme were made last week, and those for the much smaller second and last phase will come due at the end of this month.
IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has said it is now apparent that the full scheme yielded 80% of the production reduction it was planned to deliver, which means €30m out of the €150m fund put forward for the scheme will remain unspent.
It is crucial that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed would lobby, with fellow-EU Agri-Council members, to retain this amount in the dairy budget for continued support.
“The EU Commission has reiterated their intention to return the underspent amount to the general EU budget. However it is important to remember that the origin of much of the funds utilised in this scheme was the massive €870m superlevy bill paid by EU dairy farmers in the last year of quotas, including €71m by Irish dairy farmers,” Mr O’Leary said.
“I therefore urge Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his officials to seek the retention of those funds within the dairy budget, in order to be able to use it to support the dairy sector in what the EU Commission has repeatedly recognised remains a fragile recovery,” he said.
“IFA has the unanimous support of all farm organisations in our European organisation COPA on this issue,” Sean O’Leary concluded