IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey said that at least one crucial deadline of the Dairy Expansion Activation Group’s (DEAG) recommendations had already been missed, which asked that milk processors and ICOS conclude the KPMG efficiency study and start developing a strategy for the future development of the industry by the end of March 2011.
He said, “Any complacency by industry decision makers was just as unacceptable to farmers as any unwillingness to face up to challenging but necessary decisions because they may run counter to perceived local interests.”
He urged ICOS, the Irish Dairy Board and the boards and senior management of co-ops to act urgently on the KPMG study. “The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must clearly demonstrate his commitment to the DEAG recommendations, and to ensure they are implemented without undue delay.”
“The KPMG results should be immediately utilised to develop a strategy for the industry on overall plant utilisation, particular product streams, general product mix and market optimisation on an objective basis. Indeed, this is one of the DEAG’s recommendations, which it envisages must be implemented as early as June 2011,” Kevin Kiersey said.
“Our industry’s decision makers cannot let themselves be lulled into a sense that hard decisions can be put off by relatively strong milk prices, good weather and favourable production conditions. Nor can we afford any dithering on necessary decisions caused by local concerns. We must ensure that the strategy to shape and finance the future of our industry in the post quota era is developed without any further delay,” he said.
“I believe the KPMG and the DEAG recommendations must be acted upon urgently and cohesively by all industry stakeholders. Dairy co-ops, the Irish Dairy Board and Government have the most pressing and important work to do, and no time must be wasted in moving from those recommendations to decisions and action,” he concluded