ICMSA’s McCormack says reaction of Farm Sector “practical and efficient but delivery required”

The President of ICMSA described today’s Conference Call between Minister Creed and the leaders of the state’s farm organisations as “practical and efficient” but he also identified key policy measures must be delivered immediately to stabilise food markets.   Pat McCormack said that decisions must be taken by the EU Farm Council tomorrow on these points and farmers must receive a clear message conveyed by clear actions from the Farm Council that food production will be supported during this very difficult period.

Mr. McCormack said that the Minister and the various farm leaders were able to work through a comprehensive list of issues that had to be addressed if the situation was to be progressed and moved towards a resumption of normal trading conditions – something that Mr. McCormack said was some considerable time distance away yet.

The ICMSA President said he was particularly struck by the total acceptance of all of the need to keep farmers and those in the food-supply chain healthy and keeping the farm-to-fork distribution system working smoothly.  He said that had to be the absolute priority and he stressed that everything must be done in furtherance of that aim – including the scaling back of inspections involving any access to farms.   The most specific danger, he pointed out, was the threat of farmers falling ill and the huge challenge presented by sourcing replacement labour.

After the threat posed to the farmers producing the nation’s food, the next key issue was keeping them going through the current ‘seizing-up’ of the normal economy and that meant an immediate commitment to ceasing the importation of beef from non-EU countries as well as private aid storage for dairy products and the provision of export credit insurance so that prices could be supported and markets maintained. He said that markets have suffered a serious shock, the impact of which will take time to calculate and policymakers need to introduce measures in the short-term to stabilise markets.

Mr. McCormack said that he was encouraged by the solidarity so far demonstrated by all our stakeholders and wider Irish society and he expected that direct supports, whether State or EU, would be available to farmers in the same spirit of decisiveness and co-operation that had been so conspicuous so far.

The ICMSA President said that Irish farmers would do everything in their power to help the country and its communities through this unprecedented challenge.

Ends     24th March 2020

Pat McCormack,

ICMSA President