The Government’s policy on low milk prices seems to be one of crossing their fingers and hoping for the best, according to John Comer, President of the ICMSA.
To coincide with the European Milk Board’s ‘Day of Protest’, Comer has said that the fall in milk prices of in excess of 30% experienced by Irish milk suppliers in the last year is completely undermining our ‘flagship’ agri-business sector.
Comer also said that the first year post-quota is shaping up to be a severe shock for both the dairy sector and the wider rural economy in which the ‘dairy spend’ is such a huge factor.
The ICMSA President said that the growing anxiety among milk suppliers is being compounded by the complete lack of any coherent dairy policy at either the domestic or EU level.
He also said that the full extent of the collapse in value of dairy output would be felt in every part of the country and could result in a fall in dairy-related spend of up to a billion euro with a quarter of that loss being felt in Cork alone.
In the face of this huge challenge the Government’s policy seemed to be one of crossing its fingers and hoping for the best.
Comer deemed the policy wholly inadequate in the fact of what amounts to a national economic reversal.
As the Irish component of the European Milk Board which has designated today as a day of protest all over the EU, Comer said that ICMSA intends ramping-up pressure on policymakers.
This is for them to accept that present dairy policy is simply too passive in the face of the challenges presented and that a much more fundamental approach must be taken if the farmer-suppliers – the primary producers on whom the whole multi-billion euro sectors rests – are to be left with any kind of viable return from the deeply flawed and lop-sided supply-chain.