The new Chairperson of the ICMSA’s Dairy Committee, Mr. Gerald Quain, has welcomed the statement from Ornua (formerly, Irish Dairy Board) signalling its intention to pay an additional cash bonus of €15 million to member-suppliers arising out of the proceeds of its sale of a majority stake in the U.S. based company DPI Speciality Foods. The Ornua stake in DPI Speciality Foods was sold last month and the cash bonus will paid to member Co-ops in April/May with the company stressing that this sum is in addition to the normal annual cash bonus it pays. Mr Quain said that this additional payment was most welcome against a background of the serious pressure on dairy markets and a present milk price that is below the cost of production. The ICMSA Chairperson calculated that the additional bonus would translate to something of the order of 0.5 cents per litre of the milk supplied to Ornua and he said that Co-ops must pay this back directly to milk suppliers given that it was their investment in Ornua that put this business in place and in recognition of the serious income pressures being felt farmers at this time. The new ICMSA Chairperson noted that the normal annual bonus paid to Co-ops by Ornua needs to be increased to reflect the pressures at farm level and this also needs to be paid in full to individual farmer-suppliers.
Mr Quain said that dairy farmers are going to have to be supported in 2016 by all players in the industry and, in this regard, he said it was most encouraging to note the decision by Lakelands to hold the price for December milk at 26.25 cents per litre. He said this was the kind of practical support and solidarity that should be serving as an example to other processors – some of whom had much greater reserves than Lakelands. ICMSA still stressed the need for further action from our Government and the EU. “We’re still waiting for meaningful Intervention price of at least 28 cents per litre and, long-term, we’re still awaiting a follow-up to the long-awaited announcement that Commissioner Hogan intends finally addressing the issue of monopolies and margin-grabbing by the retail corporations in the food-supply chain. Long-term this has to be the answer and farmers – and fairness itself – need some signal that the Commission has actually summoned up the courage to face down these gigantic corporations”, concluded Mr Quain.
Ends 13 January 2016.
Gerald Quain, 086-3623041
Chairperson, ICMSA Dairy Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office