Speaking following last week’s meeting with Minister Coveney, the ICMSA President, John Comer, said that it is now clear that the EU dairy sector is in a crisis and the immediate attention of the EU Farm Council is required to address that reality as well as the growing likelihood that the poor milk prices farmers are currently experiencing could be with us for a longer period than anticipated. Following discussions with milk producers from other EU Member States affiliated through EMB, Mr. Comer said that the current weak milk prices are an EU- wide problem with milk prices having fallen across the Union by approximately 30% from 2014 levels.
“Farmers are facing a massive reduction in their incomes in 2015 and milk prices are now below the cost of production for many farmers both here and across the EU. The Irish situation is particularly stressed with many dairy farmers having to deal with substantial superlevy bills and expansion-related farm debt. We’re in unchartered, post-quota territory here and there is a clear onus on the EU Farm Council to ensure that farm families can get through this period. That means they’re going to have to get serious about the tools at their disposal and, in our opinion, that must mean that the EU Farm Council immediately raises the intervention prices for butter and SMP to a level that reflects the cost of milk production across the EU and it is generally accepted that this should be in the region of 28 cents per litre. The effect of such a decision would be to set a base price for the market and we think this would have an immediate impact in terms of market sentiment. I am concerned that EU Farm Ministers are adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach when it’s obvious that time is not on our side. We can’t just wait and then react cautiously; the Irish and EU diary sectors are at a vulnerable juncture and we need decisive leadership in the form of a realistic intervention price that puts a firm floor below the market”, said Mr Comer
Ends 29 June 2015
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office