Authorities have to protect farmers amid Covid-19 crunch – IFA

EU and Irish authorities have to act now to support farmers as Covid-19 effects begin to bite, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

IFA president Tim Cullinan said the European Commission and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed need to instigate a series of measures to support farmers to ensure that essential food supplies continue to be available for all citizens.

Reiterating his earlier reaction, Cullinan added that the decision by McDonald’s to close its restaurants in Ireland and the UK will put further pressure on the Irish beef sector.

The president outlined a number of measures which he said need to be acted on, which include:
  • Make the necessary adjustments to EU beef market supports (Intervention, Private Storage Aid) so as to be in a position to provide realistic beef market price supports;
  • Move to protect the internal EU market and suspend all non-EU beef imports including South American imports, which do not meet EU standards;
  • Adjustments to state aid rules to give more flexibility to the Irish Government to support farmers;
  • Allocate the necessary funding so the commission is in a position to provide additional urgent direct payment supports to farmers to compensate for beef market losses; and
  • A review of the inspection requirements so that all farmers can get all of their direct payments without any hold up because of inspections.

“The Irish beef price is already well below the cost of production for farmers. They cannot sustain any further cuts,” Cullinan concluded.