Coveney remains confident of dairy future

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Simon Coveney believes that Ireland remains ready to take its place as a key player within the international dairy industry, once milk quotas end in just over six months’ time.

“Our dairy industry can look forward to an extremely bright future. The challenge in front of us is to ensure that the sector is geared up to convert all of this potential into reality. And the clock is ticking: there is a tremendous amount of work to be done over the coming months.

“I am aware that the ban introduced by Russia on EU food imports is giving specific cause for concern at the present time. However, I am confident that alternative markets can be found for this produce.”

Farmers in Ireland, he said, can also be reassured by the scope of the recently completed CAP reform and its potential to provide them with a significant degree of support at times when there is volatility in the market place. “In total, I managed to secure a total support package from Brussels of some €12.5 billion.”

Turning to the specific problems confronting the beef sector at the present time, the Minister stressed that he is doing all he can to resolve this issue.

“To this end I am working tirelessly with all of the farming organisations and the other stakeholder groups. My aim is to ensure that Irish farmers get the best possible prices, which the market can offer. However, what cannot be overlooked is the fact that there is an oversupply of beef on the international market at the present time. Here in Ireland we are killing significantly more cattle at the present time than was the case this time last year.”

But Simon Coveney also pointed out that is all far from bad news where international markets are concerned.

“This autumn will see the opening of the US market to Irish beef. This should prove to be a watershed development, given that producer prices in the US are on a par with those in this country at the present time,” he said. “And, of course, Bord Bía continues to seek out new markets for Irish beef.”