IFA President Eddie Downey said the emergency EU Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting on 7th September in Brussels must address the fundamental issues of imbalance in the food supply chain, and the severe income pressure on primary producers from farm gate prices below the cost of production across most sectors, including dairy, grain, beef, pigmeat, lamb, and fruit and vegetables.
He said as well as equity in the food supply chain, access to the EU single market and competition are key principles which must be guaranteed by the EU Commission and the Council of Ministers to European for both producers and consumers.
Eddie Downey said IFA will join COPA in a European farm demonstration in Brussels on 7th September outside the Agriculture Ministers’ meeting. “IFA will be part of the COPA mass demonstration at the extraordinary Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels on September 7th at 2.00 pm.”
The IFA President said current loss-making prices across sectors are not sustainable and cannot be allowed continue. He said, “An extremely difficult situation has developed across most sectors, mainly as a result of the political driven Russian export restrictions, which severely damaged European agri-food exports overnight”.
Eddie Downey said with prices across all of the main sectors below the costs of production in many EU countries and farmers shipping losses, the Council of Ministers must address equity in the food chain from retail to processing to farm level. He said EU retailers are more than capable of paying viable prices back to producers, but this is not happening at the moment.
Eddie Downey said that while it is understandable that hard-pressed producers with large domestic populations and markets were intensifying their campaigns over loss-making prices, this must not be at the expense of farming colleagues in other member states and the single market. He said the Council of Ministers must take action to defend the EU single market.
IFA has made detailed submissions to the EU Commission on the food supply chain demanding equity for primary producers including statutory legislation at European level to ensure that producers get a fair share of the market price.