ICMSA President John Comer has advised members to vote for election candidates who support farmers in their struggle with food retail corporations for fair prices.
He said farmers can’t cover costs of production, while retail corporations maintain or increase profit margins, without regulation, supervision or protest from authorities.
Among the ICMSA solutions are EU intervention prices equating to 28 cents per litre for milk; taxation changes to allow farmers deal with market volatility; and a complete ban on below-cost selling of food in Ireland.
In the Basic Payment Scheme, ICMSA demands that farmers getting less than €30,000 should not be subject to convergence.
Other demands in its seven-page pre-election submission are: state agencies to bring foreign investment to rural towns; and specific measures to maintain shops in some rural towns and villages.
But ICMSA sees post offices, Garda stations and high speed broadband as the most important rural public and social services for government attention.
It wants a single state agency to address waterway management and flooding issues. ICMSA says there are growing concern amongst farmers over how climate change policies can affect farm income, and sets targets for Ireland’s negotiators.
It wants an investigation of competition in processing, and says a complete review of the Beef Grid was agreed at the Beef Forum in 2015, and must take place before 2017.
If concessions are made in trade agreements, EU farmers must be fully compensated, ICMSA is telling election candidates.
It wants an EU investigation of the fertiliser market, and it calls for greater availability of prescription veterinary medicines, and pharmacies to be allowed compete with vets.
Better feed and fertiliser testing is sought, along with slurry spreading flexibility; measures to allow adequate levels of soil phosphorous, and grant aid for underpasses, farm roadways and land drainage.
The €5,000 cap on GLAS payments must be increased to €9,000, says ICMSA, and GLAS must be made relevant to dairy and other intensive farmers.
Fourteen days notice of all farm inspections is sought.
ICMSA urges the new government to advance implementation of EU financial instruments providing low interest credit to farmers.
Like IFA, it says the cost of registering a legal charge must be reduced in order to allow customers switch banks without exorbitant legal costs.
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