‘Beef and sheep sectors just as deserving of EU aid monies as dairy sector’

Struggling beef and sheep sectors are just as deserving of the recent EU aid package, worth €11.1m to Ireland, as the dairy sector, according to ICSA President Patrick Kent.

The livestock sectors are just as deserving of the money given the current market uncertainties following Brexit and fragile live exports, he said.

“ICSA has been calling for a fair distribution of these funds. There is now an opportunity for this to happen.”

Earlier this week, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said that EU Member States will be able to use part of the €350m conditional adjustment aid (of which Ireland received €11.1m) allocated under the recent EU aid package to sectors other than the dairy sector.

Speaking following the announcement of the aid package in Brussels this week, the Commissioner said that the €350m aid is “not just confined to the dairy sector.”

“It can apply in Member States, if they wish to do so, in other sectors as well if those sectors are under pressure.

“It gives an opportunity for Member States as well to allocate the same amount if they wish to do so in relation to this envelope of money.”

On Monday last, the Commissioner announced a €500m aid package for the EU agriculture sector with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

The package included this €350m conditional adjustment aid measure which is to be implemented by Member States – from which Ireland will receive €11.1m – and a €150m EU-wide measure to support voluntary reduction in milk production.

There were three main elements to the latest package:
  • A EU-wide scheme to incentivise a reduction in milk production (€150m).
  • Conditional adjustment aid to be defined and implemented at Member State level out of a menu proposed by the Commission (€350m that Member States will be allowed to match with national funds, thus potentially doubling the level of support being provided to farmers).
  • A range of technical measures to provide flexibility (e.g. on voluntary coupled support), cash-flow relief (e.g. through an increase in the amount of the advances for both direct and area-based rural development payments) and reinforce the safety net instruments (by prolonging intervention and private storage aid for Skimmed Milk Powder).

The precise details of all the different measures will be finalised in the coming weeks, in consultation with Member State experts.