At an Emergency European Farmers meeting in Brussels, attended by Agricultural Commissioner Ciolos, IFA called for immediate and effective action by the European Commission to address the negative impact on European farm families from the loss of the Russian market.
At the meeting, IFA General Secretary Pat Smith said the action already taken by the Commission, including opening of aid to private storage, intervention buying and funding for food promotion – while welcome – is not enough and much more is required.
Pat Smith stated that additional funding is required from EU financial resources outside the CAP budget to support markets. He said “The Russian trade ban is a direct consequence of decisions taken by European leaders in a geopolitical dispute. It was never envisioned that the CAP Crisis Reserve fund would be used to deal with market disturbances of this kind.”
Smith urged that action must be taken now, “If the Commission learned anything from 2009 dairy crisis it is that delays to decision making will exacerbate an already negative market situation,” he said.
The loss of the Russian market is already having a real impact on the dairy, beef, pork and fruit and veg sectors in those countries nearest to Russia. Unless determined action is taken by the Commission now the viability of farm families across the community will be under pressure, Smith continued.
The General Secretary called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ensure that decisions are made at the Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow (Friday) to address the issue effectively.