Suspension of superlevy repayments and interest-free cash loans for dairy farmers must be a priority for the incoming Minister for Agriculture, says IFA dairy chairman Sean O’Leary.
The Cork-based dairy farmer wants the new minister to prioritise the full use of the EU Commission’s temporary State Aid allowance to support farmers.
“2016 superlevy repayments will begin to be deducted from next month’s milk cheque, and for many farmers, this will be an intolerable extra stress on cashflow in a year in which they are already struggling with low milk prices, bad weather and high feed bills,” Mr O’Leary said.
“The new state aid allowance, agreed by the EU Agriculture Council in March, was part of a package of emergency measures to support dairy, pig farmers and fruit and vegetable growers, and provided that member states could aid them up to €15,000 per farmer, per annum over three years.”
He said this concession to the main rules on state aids was given in recognition of the massive income and cashflow pressure on farmers in these sectors.
He said it is the duty of the new minister to ensure that Irish farmers benefit fully from this option without delay.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved