Commenting on the Irish submission for the critical 14th March EU Farm Council meeting at which measures to address the dairy crisis will be discussed, ICMSA Dairy Committee Chairperson, Gerald Quain, said that the reaction of dairy farmers would be one of profound disappointment and astonishment that Ireland is not seeking an increase in the Intervention price for butter and SMP and the question now arises whether the Government still doesn’t actually grasp the extent of the crisis facing our dairy farmers who are now approaching peak milk production season and receiving prices below the cost of production.
Mr Quain said that while the proposals set out by the Department all have some merit, they will not – either taken together or separately – stabilise prices and they will not certainly not deliver a price that will cover the costs of production. He also referred to the mention in the Irish submission of a possible deployment of ‘exceptional measures’ should the need arise and pointed out that if the present prospect of going a full year at below-cost-of-production prices didn’t qualify as ‘exceptional’ then he’d hate to see the scenario that our Department did consider as requiring ‘exceptional measures’.
“ICMSA is both disappointed and mystified that Ireland is seemingly intent on turning up to the vital 14 March Farm Council with no clear proposal that will immediately signal to Irish and EU dairy farmers that the extent of the utter collapse in milk price and wiping out of dairy farmers income is understood and is going to be addressed. Instead, we’re getting more of the same; more tinkering around the edges of things like storage volumes and time limits without any signal as to how dairy farmers are expected to get through next month or the next six months in a situation where they’re actually losing money every day through below-cost production. The September Farm Council failed to stabilise dairy markets and the same will happen with the March Council unless we face up to the fact that an intervention price increase has to happen. In a situation where the Commission either won’t or can’t bring itself to regulate for a fair margin in the supply-chain then it is incumbent upon them to actually introduce immediately an Intervention Price of at least 28 cents per litre so that farmers can at least pay their bills. It is astonishing that Ireland’s submission to this vital meeting does not clearly set out a demand to increase the intervention price and we are calling on the Minister to clearly state that he will support any calls from other parties for an intervention price increase”, concluded Mr. Quain.
Ends 2 March 2016
Gerald Quain, 086-3623041
Chairperson, ICMSA Dairy Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office