Creed stops short of ruling out EU aid for tillage farmers

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has stopped short of ruling out an European funded aid package for tillage farmers.

Speaking the Dail yesterday, Minister Creed said there will be no prospect of a bailout package for the grain industry until there is a loud call for a response at political level in the Commission.

“When 27 or 28 Member States jump up and down in unison about the dairy industry, the Commission responds.

“Unfortunately, Member States are not jumping up and down about the grain industry.

“Until there is a clamour for a response at a political level in the Commission that is led by the main grain growing countries, there will be no prospect of a bailout package for the grain industry,” he said.

Responding to a question from Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, the Minister said nether the French, Polish, Hungarians or Romanians nor any other nation are “jumping up and down saying there is a crisis in their grain industries”.

However, Creed did hint that there may be the possibility of state aid being made available for struggling tillage farmers.

This is why we are availing of the opportunity under the scope given to us under the de minimis rules, as in State aid.

Assess the crop losses first

The Minister added that the fraction of crops yet to be harvested may be small at this stage, but the introduction of a fund would see the salvaging of crops cease.

“I want to ensure the endeavour continues.

“Until we have a full picture, I will not jump into making any hasty announcements regarding the measures we might consider appropriate,” he said.

The Department is anxious to get a full and accurate picture in respect of where a line can be drawn under it to to say beyond this point no further harvest can be salvaged.

We are far from that stage. Only a full picture can inform us on the appropriate policy instruments that are being considered.