Europe must deliver decisive short-term and long-term support measures for dairy farmers according to ICMSA President John Comer. He made these comments prior to a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, taking place in Brussels this morning.

“We will be making it very clear to the Commissioner that he must act now to support the dairy industry. And that means reviewing the scope of the intervention, export refunds and aids to private storage measures that are available to him,” Comer said.

“Europe has known for months that dairy market prices would come under real pressure in the latter part of 2014 and the first half of next year. A wall of milk is about to hit the world’s dairy markets over the coming months. The Commission’s own Milk Market Observatory has been highlighting this very salient fact for months. So it’s up to Phil Hogan to act now rather than wait until irreparable damage is done to the Irish dairy industry.”

Looking further down the track, the ICMSA President made it clear that Irish dairy farmers must be protected against the devastating impact of volatility.

“Don’t get me wrong: the long term prospects for milk production in Ireland remain extremely positive. But we are now looking at five year cycles, during which milk prices will rise and fall significantly.

“Given these circumstances Europe must now look at implementing a strategic volumetric supply mechanism for milk. And this would not be quotas dressed up in another guise. I firmly believe that milk quotas did tremendous damage to the prospects for Irish dairy over the past 30 years.

“What I am now calling for is the introduction of a mechanism which would allow dairy farmers take their foot off the gas at those times when international milk markers are set to fall.

“This could be easily worked through by the Commission in Brussels given the information available from the Milk Market Observatory.”