IFA President Joe Healy is meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels today to discuss the severe income crisis and the measures needed to alleviate the problems on farms.
The IFA President will call on the Commissioner to act without delay to ease the cash flow stresses on dairy farms, including Superlevy deductions from this month’s milk cheque and merchant credit debt in all sectors. “The exceptional state aid measures allowing for the provision of short-term loans were voted on by the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers over two months ago on March 14th.”
“There is now real urgency as the majority of dairy farms will find themselves in the red this month as a result of milk prices of 23-25c/l which are below average production costs. Those dairy farmers who have invested in recent years, who just saw the first instalment of their Superlevy repayment 2016 leave their milk account, and carry some merchant credit or other bills, will be in even deeper financial trouble,” he warned.
Joe Healy will make a strong case to the Commissioner for an advance of 70% on the Basic Payment in October given the difficult income conditions across all sectors.
As Chairman of the COPA Working Party on the Food Chain, Joe Healy said the imbalance in the retail chain required a strong response at EU level. “Retail regulation that is effectively implemented is needed to curb the power of the retailers and restore a fair price to the producer.”
On trade, Joe Healy said Commissioner Hogan must be very strong and make it clear to Commissioner Malmstrom that there is no justification for re-introducing beef into the Mercosur negotiations. He said, “Beef is a vital national interest for Ireland and under no circumstances can we allow the EU Commission to use it as the bargaining chip in the Mercosur negotiations”.
The IFA President said the EU Commission needs to take immediate action to abolish unjustified fertiliser import tariffs as it clear that these duties and tariffs protect European manufacturers at the expense of farm families whose incomes are under extreme pressure.