Co-ops reject milk cut plan

Co-ops are disappointed by the new EU scheme to reduce milk production, said ICOS President, Martin Keane. 

Co-ops reject milk cut plan

“This is not an equitable approach, and firmly re-introduces supply management as an EU tool to manage dairy markets,” said the co-ops spokesman.

There was a mixed response from farmers, with ICMSA’s John Comer welcoming the €150m scheme to reduce milk production.

He said all EU farmers have the option to participate in this voluntary scheme, offering farmers the option to reduce production while market prices are poor, but it does not prevent farmers from expanding if they wish.

IFA President Joe Healy said it is important that the bulk of the EU aid made available this week for farmer supports is not conditional on farmers scaling back production.

IFA National Dairy Chairman Sean O’Leary said the €150m scheme “must not disadvantage Irish farmers who have expanded in the legal certainty of quota removal last year”.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed welcomed the €500m Solidarity Package and confirmed that Ireland will receive an €11.1m share of the €350m conditional adjustment aid.

Irish farmer organisations and co-ops said it is vital that Minister Creed commits to matching the €11.1m funding.

Mr Healy also re-iterated IFA’s call for a State-Aid backed loan package to help farmers struggling with merchant credit, and bills such as superlevy payments.

Exceptional State Aid measures of this kind were given the green light by the EU s last March.

ICMSA’s John Comer called for immediate implementation of the new aid package, before the traditional EU holiday break.

EU agriculture ministers broadly supported the package presented by the Commission, with many calling for swift implementation.

ICOS’s Martin Keane acknowledged the role played by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan in securing a significant support package for dairy farmers, despite many pressures on the EU budget.

Precise details of the aid package will be finalised in coming weeks, in consultation with member state experts.

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