IFA President Eddie Downey said the 70% proposed advance on the Basic Payment demanded by will be a boost for cashflow on income-strapped farms. He said normally farmers get a 50% advance on their payments on 16th October, but because of the income crisis situation, the Commission is proposing to increase this to 70%.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan is expected to confirm in Brussels on Monday that the advance of the Basic Payment (formerly the Single Farm Payment) will be released next month. “The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has to ensure the 70% advance includes the Basic greening payments, and that all other EU payments are made on time.” The remaining 30% will be due on 1st December.
Eddie Downey said the advance is part of a package of measures that the EU Commission and Farm Council have to bring forward to support farmers, including market measures such as increased intervention prices, APS for cheese and export refunds for pigmeat.
The IFA President said the EU Commission will have a fund of over €800m worth of surperlevy fines paid by European over-quota farmers. This must be used to support dairy farmers and not subsumed into the EU overall budget. It is not an option to use the Crisis Reserve as this would impact all farmers’ payments. It should be made available to underpin supports and promotional measures.
In a clear warning to the EU Commissioner and the Farm Council, Eddie Downey said the food chain is broken with below-cost selling and input cartels squeezing the viability from productive farm businesses. “It is critically important that Ministers step up at Monday’s meeting with a strong declaration that Europe will ban below-cost selling of food and address the excessive input costs imposed on farmers. It is vital that Farm Ministers take action to ensure the EU Single Market is working properly.”
Eddie Downey said input providers will have to reduce their costs and take their share of the pain in helping farmers through this income crisis.