Key policy measures needed to stabilise markets – ICMSA

Key policy measures must be delivered immediately to stabilise food markets, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Speaking following a conference call today, Tuesday, March 24, with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the leaders of other farm organisations, ICMSA president Pat McCormack described the meeting as “practical and efficient” – but added that action is needed.

EU Council

He said that farmers must receive a “clear message conveyed by clear actions” from the EU AgriFish Council that food production will be supported during this difficult period.

The president said participants in today’s meeting worked through a list of key issues that have to be addressed to resume normal trading conditions – something that is a considerable distance away yet, he added.

McCormack highlighted the “total acceptance of all of the need to keep farmers and those in the food-supply chain healthy and keeping the farm-to-fork distribution system working smoothly”.

This must be top priority, he stressed; adding  that everything must be done in furtherance of that aim – including the scaling back of inspections involving any access to farms.

Labour

The most specific danger, he said, is the threat of farmers falling ill and the huge challenge presented by sourcing replacement labour.

The next key issue is keeping farmers going through the current ‘seizing up’ of the normal economy, McCormack added.

This, he said, means an immediate commitment to ceasing the importation of beef from non-EU countries as well as private aid storage for dairy products and the provision of export credit insurance so that prices could be supported and markets maintained.

He said that markets have suffered a serious shock, the impact of which will take time to calculate and policymakers need to introduce measures in the short-term to stabilise markets.

Solidarity

McCormack said that he is encouraged by the solidarity so far demonstrated by all agri stakeholders and wider Irish society.

He added he expects that direct supports, whether state or EU, would be available to farmers in the same spirit of decisiveness and cooperation that had been conspicuous so far.

Concluding, the president said that Irish farmers would do everything in their power to help the country and its communities through this unprecedented challenge.

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