ICMSA slams plans for March EU Farm Council

ICMSA has reacted with “profound disappointment” to the Irish submission for the March 14 EU Farm Council meeting, and has questioned the Government’s grasp of the extent of crisis for Irish dairy farmers.
ICMSA slams plans for March EU Farm Council

Dairy Committee Chairman Gerald Quain said farmers approach peak milk production with prices below the cost of production, but the submission shows Ireland is not seeking an increase in intervention prices for butter and skim milk powder.

Mr Quain said the proposals in the submission will not stabilise prices to cover costs of milk production.

The main Irish proposal is more flexible private storage for skim milk powder (which has been extended to September 30, but take-up has been limited); improved cheese private storage allocations; and increasing the fixed price skim milk powder intervention ceiling from 109,000 to 200,000 tonnes and extending the buying-in beyond September 30, into 2017 if necessary.

Ireland is also set to seek deferral of the 2016 and 2017 superlevy instalment payments.

ICMSA’s Gerald Quain said the dairy proposals amount to going a full year at below-cost-of-production prices.

“ICMSA is both disappointed and mystified that Ireland is seemingly intent on turning up to the vital March 14 Farm Council with no clear proposal that will immediately signal to Irish and EU dairy farmers that the extent of the utter collapse in milk price and wiping out of dairy farmers’ income is understood and is going to be addressed.”

The Irish submission says regulating dairy supply in times of price downturns is not appropriate, and such measures taken only in the EU will disadvantage EU farmers and co-ops, undermine efficient production, and adversely affect the ability of farmers to benefit when the market turns in their favour.

There’s more promising news for pig farmers, with an Irish proposal to restart pigmeat private storage expected.

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