Co-ops answer farmer’s call and raise €190,000 for Yemen

Irish dairy cooperatives and their farm families throughout Ireland answered a call from Co. Longford dairy farmer Mike Magan to help raise funds for the people of Yemen who are afflicted by war and famine.

The results of that grass roots campaign were realised on Friday as the leaders of cooperatives from all over Ireland joined Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS) president Jerry Long and Mike Magan in an online ceremony to transfer €190,000 to the Irish Red Cross, represented by secretary general Trevor Holmes.

Magan supplies milk to Lakeland Dairies and the farmer-owned co-op “strongly backed his initiative” ICOS said.

An additional €105,000 was also donated by other companies and individuals in the dairy supply chain in support of the initiative.

As a milk producer, Mike Magan had described his feelings on seeing the dreadful plight of children and families in Yemen.

He proposed a grassroots initiative asking each of Ireland’s dairy farmers to donate the equivalent of one day’s milk from a cow to the Red Cross for its work in Yemen. Irish farm families and their dairy co-operatives responded immediately.

Pressing the button for the transfer of €190,000 to the Irish Red Cross, ICOS president Jerry Long said: “This is a very significant gesture of solidarity by the dairy farmers of Ireland, along with their cooperatives and milk purchasers, to recognise and respond to the plight of those significantly less fortunate than ourselves.

The inception of this initiative comes down to the passion of one man, Mike Magan, who reached out to ICOS among others, with his idea to respond to a shocking human tragedy that was emerging in Yemen.”

Magan himself also commented, adding:

“I’m humbled but not surprised by the wonderful response of the dairy farming community and others who have donated to this cause.

“We live in a land of plenty, and have very significant resources. While our country currently has its own major health crisis, the crisis in other countries is magnified a hundredfold, so I thought why not share some of our good fortune.

I’ve been blown away by the response and I send my warmest appreciation to farmers, co-operatives, members of the public and everyone who has supported this call.

Trevor Holmes, secretary general of the Irish Red Cross, said: “The people of Ireland have always shown their generosity, particularly in times of famine and crisis for others.

“It is very moving and appropriate that this level of donation came about through the initiatives and generosity of primary food producers in Ireland where the Irish Red Cross will now use these resources to support families and communities in Yemen.

“On behalf of the Irish Red Cross and our international organisation, I thank the dairy farmers and co-operatives of Ireland,” Holmes concluded.