Speaking at the launch of the new Bord Bia Dairy Quality Assurance and Sustainability scheme, IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey said there was now a major onus on the Irish dairy industry and Bord Bia to communicate to dairy farmers the value of the scheme, including its marketing and financial benefits.
“IFA fully understands the importance of Quality Assurance schemes in protecting our ability to market our products, and we are strong believers that the good story we have to tell on sustainability can provide our dairy sector with a unique competitive edge on the world market in the context of our expansion ambitions,” Mr Kiersey said.
“IFA’s contribution to the design of the scheme by the Bord Bia Technical Advisory Committee has focused on achieving a realistic compliance procedure and ensuring that the requirements farmers have to fulfil are reasonable and representative of normal good practice on Irish dairy farms. We have negotiated away many unrealistic and impractical requirements, and we are confident that the vast majority of dairy farmers will have no difficulty in getting accreditation. We have also succeeded in removing duplication by obtaining that the Dairy QA audit will replace the dairy hygiene inspections, and that any farmer also participating in the Beef QA scheme will have both audits at the same time, carried out by the same auditor,” he said.
Concluding, Mr Kiersey said: “In supporting this initiative, IFA is clear that the acid test for farmers will be seen by the development of high value markets that maximise returns and reduce price volatility. A significant job of communication is now required by industry to convince dairy farmers that it is worth their while volunteering themselves for the scrutiny of the audits”.