The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has claimed that the Tánaiste is against reducing the volume of dairy production.
It follows a meeting yesterday (Wednesday, March 2) between Leo Varadkar and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Martin Heydon with farming organisations.
ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that “very material matters” were discussed during the roundtable talks that were “both urgent and outstanding”.
This included a call on government to reduce taxes on farm inputs as costs for fertiliser, fees and energy soar.
“Certainly from ICMSA’s point-of-view, any insight into official policy around milk production is always of the highest importance.
“The main ‘takeaway’ for us from yesterday’s meeting was the view expressed by Tánaiste Varadkar that he is against any volume control on the amount of Irish milk produced,” McCormack stated.
The ICMSA explained that it is interpreting the comment “as an assurance that emissions lowering measures that are already working will be given a chance”.
The organisation also pointed to the position previously outlined by chair of the newly formed Food Vision Dairy Group, Prof. Gerry Boyle as a reason for the conclusion it has drawn.
The ICMSA believes this means “that we are not going to see any crude and unscientific measures on an ‘across-the-board’ basis aimed at lowering the production of our most valuable agri-export”.
“We think that’s the most sensible and rational way of making progress and we share the government’s confidence that it is perfectly possible to lower emissions while increasing economic and social value,” McCormack added.
Climate change measures
The ICMSA president also stressed to the Tánaiste that the climate change practices being implemented by farmers must be “factored in” at a national level.
“It is self-evidently absurd that we have a situation where even if every farm shed in Ireland was completely covered in solar panels that this would not be included in our national mitigation plan from an agriculture reduction perspective.
“The ‘big plus’ from our standpoint is that the government agrees with us that we can and should try and preserve the economic, social and cultural cohesion of our dairy sector while we lower emissions associated with it.
“That is both possible and desirable and we are very satisfied that our arguments on this appear to have been taken on board”, McCormack concluded.