Commenting on the proposals in relation to dairy market management passed this week by ComAgri, the President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack welcomed the direction of the proposals which if implemented would provide primary producers with an element of power in a marketplace where they are currently being dominated by global multiple retailers and increasingly global dairy processors.
Farmers, Mr. McCormack said, continue to take the full volatility hit with players further up the chain, namely the multiple retailers and processors simply passing back the full hit to farmers to preserve their own margins and this policy simply cannot continue and must be tackled by the EU policymakers.
In particular, the ComAgri proposals to include a value sharing mechanism and to allow for voluntary milk supply reductions schemes when required are welcome and these should be backed up with the necessary budgetary resources. Mr. McCormack said, that as dairy farmers, we have invested in value added, for example, our work under SDAS while our processors have invested in value added products but farmers are questioning if the return is coming back to farmers and they ask the simple question, why is milk price always equated to base commodity prices when we have invested in so much value added. Farmers need a mechanism to ensure they are getting their fair share of value added returns and this proposal from ComAgri has to be welcomed and should be progressed.
The Voluntary Milk Supply Reduction Scheme which ICMSA was alone in supporting proved its worth for farmers in 2016 whereby for the first time, farmers were given the option, continue to supply or reduce supply and farmers responded accordingly with an immediate impact on market sentiment and milk prices. ComAgri support for such a voluntary option going forward is very welcome and the availability of such a scheme is important to keep our milk processors in particular on their toes.
The opposition of the European Dairy Association to these ComAgri proposals, Mr. McCormack said, is telling and indeed, ICMSA believes that the EDA should spell out their proposals to prevent the current crippling volatility on farmers and perhaps, their opposition is linked to the fact that the policy is moving to supporting farmers and giving farmers options rather than the processors.
The CAP going forward needs to move to supporting family farms and move away from supporting large multinational food companies sometimes at the expense of farmers and these ComAgri proposals are welcome and should be supported by our Minister, concluded Mr. McCormack.
ENDS 18 May 2018
Pat McCormack (087) 7608958
ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.