Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív has said the Government has been found sorely lacking for having no contingency plan to deal with dairy price volatility.
Deputy O Cuív was commenting in advance of the extraordinary EU Agriculture Council meeting on September 7th to discuss the situation in the dairy market in particular. The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson unveiled a 7 point plan to aimed at providing a credible way to address dairy price volatility.
“The response by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to the ongoing crisis in the dairy market has been totally inadequate to date. The Minister over promised in encouraging expansion and huge investment in the diary sector in the lead up to the end of milk quotas on the basis of strong dairy prices.
“A co-ordinated strategy is needed to tackle the dairy crisis, and Fianna Fáil is putting forward just that. Our 7 point plan of action is to:
· Retain this year’s superlevy money within the European agricultural sector;
· Create an European TAMS dairy stimulus;
· Review the dairy market intervention prices;
· Fast track EU Payments to farmers;
· Strengthen the milk market observatory;
· Invest in tools to help farmers mitigate volatility;
· Stimulate market demand via market access;
“Dairy farmers are being crippled by falling milk prices and need urgent assistance from the Government and increased European intervention.
“Over 17,000 Irish dairy farmers will be alarmed that the average milk price that they get for their milk has reduced by a third since last year, from an average of 38.4 cent per litre to 28 cent per litre during the key summer production months. This is dangerously close to the cost of production and is an unviable situation.
“Market stability mechanisms are urgently needed at EU level to address the continued fall in milk prices. The current EU price intervention level does not provide protection from extreme price changes and this must change.
“Minister Coveney needs to convince his European counterparts to introduce measures to ensure market stability. The essential EU floor for support should be increased from 20 cent to the average production cost.
“This government often boasts of its political reach in Europe. Seeing how it failed miserably to get any reduction in the hugely punitive €69m superlevy penalty, Irish dairy farmers will have little faith in seeing a positive outcome as falling milk prices continue to cripple farmers’ profitability levels.
“I am calling on Commissioner Hogan, Minister Coveney and European Ministers to examine the measures outlined above to address to address the current market difficulties as a matter of urgency.”