Speaking as thousands of EU farmers protested in Brussels today, IFA President Eddie Downey said the package of measures announced following the meeting of the Farm Council was insufficient to address the income crisis facing farm families.
Eddie Downey said farmers are very disappointed that there was no commitment to review the intervention price for milk to put a floor on the market and provide much-needed stability for dairy producers. “The APS measures for cheese and the enhanced measures for SMP will be a help, but they do not go far enough. The Commission will have to revisit the intervention issue.”
The IFA President acknowledged the decision to bring forward 70% of pillar 1 payments, saying it would boost cash flow on farms during a difficult year.
The national envelope proposed is inadequate in the context of the damage done to our markets as a result of the Russian ban created by EU political interference.
The announcement of an APS scheme for pork products is welcome, but export refunds for pigmeat and a re-opening of the Russian market are needed to adequately address the loss-making situation for pig farmers.
At a meeting with Commissioner Hogan’s cabinet today in Brussels Eddie Downey said the food chain is broken, with below-cost selling by retailers and input cartels squeezing the viability from productive farm businesses, which are already under severe pressure from depressed and volatile global commodity markets.
He said, “It is critically important that the Commission step up 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”.
The IFA President said input providers will have to reduce their costs and take their share of the pain in helping farmers through this income crisis, and the Commission and Farm Council should insist on this.
“Grain farmers across Europe are experiencing their third successive year of prices below the cost of production. The political establishment needs to wake up. Their failure to rein in speculative investment in agricultural commodities and tackle fertiliser price cartels is compounding the situation. Farm families cannot ride out the boom/bust cycles resulting from speculative investment.”
The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has to ensure the 70% advance includes the Basic and Greening payments, and that all other EU payments are made on time.” The remaining 30% will be due on 1st December.