Speaking following a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Mr. Phil Hogan on the current dairy situation, Mr. John Comer. President of ICMSA said ICMSA had raised the two key concerns of dairy farmers at this time, milk price and superlevy. Mr. Comer said in relation to milk price that the EU Commission has a clear responsibility to support milk price during periods of market weakness which we have at the present time.
ICMSA, Mr. Comer urged the Commissioner to immediately increase the intervention price for butter and skimmed milk powder to a realistic level that will at least cover the cost of milk production and the strategic use of APS and export refunds should also be utilised. ICMSA also urged the Commissioner to act immediately to stabilise the situation and in the medium to long term look at other instruments including a market stability programme to stabilise the market during periods of market weakness. Mr. Comer stressed that this is not the reintroduction of milk quotas and should not be interpreted as such.
In relation to superlevy, Mr. Comer said, that ICMSA had clearly set out the serious problems facing Irish dairy farmers and again urged the Commissioner to re-examine the butterfat situation and other mechanisms to help farmers.
Mr. Comer said he was disappointed with the views of commission officials on this matter at the meeting.
Mr. Comer welcomed the Commissioners strong commitment to address the issue of multiple retailer power including the use of legislation if necessary and said that he hoped that progress can be made on this matter in 2015.
In conclusion, Mr. Comer said that ICMSA has also met with Irish MEP’s on the dairy situation and asked them to address these matters as a matter of priority in the parliament.
Ends 01 December 2014
John Comer, 087-2057846