ICSA questions the fairness of another dairy rescue package

ICSA President Patrick Kent has questioned the granting of a further rescue package for dairy farmers while beef farmers continue to seek fair play for their own sector.

Speaking following the announcement, Kent said that ICSA is simply looking for equal treatment for the beef sector.

“However, yet again we are seeing aid flooding to the dairy sector while the beef sector is cast adrift.

“How is it that Brussels can repeatedly come up with money for dairy farmers and find nothing for beef farmers? This is particularly galling for beef farmers in the light of the impact that Brexit is already having.”

In addition, the recent events in Turkey have added an extra level of risk and uncertainty to the live export market that we have only recently welcomed.

“We had an EU rescue package in 2015 for dairy farmers which was matched by a Government top-up of €14m.

“At the time ICSA was concerned that such a move would set a precedent whereby dairy farmers would continue to seek and receive additional support. This prospect has now come to pass while beef farmers continue to grapple with low incomes and uncertain markets,” he said.

The European Commission unveiled a €500m aid package this week for the EU agriculture sector with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

The package includes a €35m conditional adjustment aid measure to be implemented by Member States – from which Ireland will receive €11.1m – and a €150m EU wide measure to support voluntary reduction in milk production.

The European Commission also announced the extension of public intervention for Skimmed Milk Powder and private storage aid schemes to February 2017.

The package also includes provision for advance payment of key farm support payments.

The payment of up to 70% of direct payments and 85% for area based RDP payments from October 16 is to provide further relief to farmers experiencing liquidity issues, according to the Commission.