‘Family farms will be forced out of business’ – ICMSA

European dairy farmers are demanding immediate action from the EU Farm Council to address the growing dairy crisis, according to the ICMSA President.

Speaking in advance of the EU Farm Council meeting scheduled for Monday (15 February), John Comer said it is abundantly clear that the package of measures introduced by the EU last September have failed to deal with the problems in the dairy sector, as dairy farmers across the EU receive a milk price well below the cost of production.

“They have already incurred significant cuts to their incomes and the clear message coming from the industry is that markets are unlikely to improve in 2016.”

The ICMSA President said this means dairy farmers are facing a full year of milk prices below the cost of production.

“Put as bluntly as the situation demands, this is totally unsustainable and family farms across the country will be forced out of business.”

The ICMSA President said that in the short term an increased intervention price of at least 28 cents per litre, with realistic ‘buying-in’ limits, is immediately required.

He said that this is the only practical solution available at this stage and that the EU Commission has never lost money in recent years buying product into intervention. He added that Private Storage schemes haven’t worked, the market hasn’t improved and making further changes to those schemes therefore will not work.

“The Commission must introduce an intervention price increase now. The French Government now appear to be supporting such a policy, so alliances need to be built … Short-term actions are required now and we need to see them implemented on Monday,” Comer said.

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