Speaking today (Wed) from the Teagasc Dairy Conference in Charleville, IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey said that IFA had identified the measures needed, and the factors which must be secured at industry, national and EU levels to foster profitable dairy expansion before and after 2015.
“First and foremost, expanding milk production must be profitable for farmers: this means it must be market driven rather than production led. The Irish Dairy Board must immediately identify the markets and products the industry must focus on.”
He said, “Secondly, co-ops must come together with Teagasc and others to identify the spare capacity and to optimise its utilisation through milk swaps and production pattern changes while maximising farm profitability. This will allow for a moderate level of expansion for little or no processing investment, and the KPMG study currently being undertaken for ICOS, must be published before the end of the year.”
“Thirdly, the industry must come forward with a detailed strategy identifying the plants requiring investment for additional expansion, the timing of this investment, its cost and how it is to be financed fairly by all stakeholders,” he said.
Kevin Kiersey said, “Finally, our Government has a huge part to play, by maintaining and enhancing fiscal supports to farmers and providing an expansion-friendly framework for the sector. It must also secure EU CAP budgets, resist attempts to renationalise EU dairy markets to the detriment of exporting countries, and obtain a “softer landing” to allow sustainable levels of expansion before 2015. This could be done with minimal impact on EU markets through a quota off-set mechanism between EU member states, the majority of whose milk production is structurally under quota.”
“The dairy sector has been correctly identified by our Government as one with tremendous potential to generate greatly increased export revenue over the coming years, for the greater good of the Irish economy. However, this can only be delivered through single-minded, determined and co-ordinated action by all stakeholders. We in IFA are totally committed to playing our fullest part, and we need to see all players step up to the plate,” he concluded.