IFA Press Release
Issued by the National Press Office, The Irish Farmers’ Association
Thursday December 9 2010
DRAFT LEGISLATION RECOGNISES NEED TO SUPPORT DAIRY FARMERS, BUT FAILS TO HELP SECURE FAIR SHARE OF RETAIL RETURNS – KIERSEY
IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey said the draft regulation announced by Commissioner Ciolos in the EU Parliament today, on matters relating to contractual relations in the milk sector did little to create any obligation on retailers to return a fair margin. He said the regulation did recognise the need to strengthen the bargaining power of milk producers, and acknowledged the special status of co-ops.
“This draft legislation is meant to bring into law some of the recommendations from the High Level Group on Milk, established at the end of 2009, the worst year for dairy incomes this generation of farmers has ever experienced.”
Kevin Kiersey said, “The High Level Group referred to the need for transparency in the retail food chain, the need to strengthen the hand of farmers in this imbalanced relationship, and ultimately the need for a fair share-out of the food chain margins.”
“However, the recommendations in the draft legislation on contracts and inter-branch organisation are aimed at addressing supply conditions and price negotiations with processors, especially non-co-op processors, and at facilitating essentially marketing, innovation and promotion,” he added.
“While these are welcome efforts to give farmers, especially those not organised within co-ops, a little more control over their destiny, I believe this draft legislation fails to tackle the retail end, and it is ultimately from the retail trade that farmers get a price for their produce,” he said.
Mr Kiersey added that he was concerned at reports of lack of support from the EU Commission’s DG Competition for proposals allowing farmers a little more leeway in terms of competition legislation, and was disappointed that the EU Commission work on food chain transparency was being kicked to touch and could take another two years to complete.
“Fair returns from the market place to farmers are essential to secure the viability of the sector. I believe the EU Commission must tackle this, and I do not believe this piece of legislation delivers on that point,” he concluded.
Niall Madigan (01) 450 1931/ 086 822 8635