We shouldn’t look backwards at a quota regime – Minister Creed

Ireland shouldn’t look backwards at a quota regime and quotas were bad for the Irish agri-food sector and farmers, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

Speaking on Newstalk radio, he said that we shouldn’t look back with any degree of nostalgia on quotas.

“We’ve invested huge amounts of money both inside the farm gate and outside the farm gate [to help] farmers to maximise the opportunities that present themselves in the post-quota era.”

“We’ve been in this place before [in terms if low-income prices], in 2009 prices were actually marginally lower than today but costs are probably higher today.

“What we have to keep in mind is the medium-term objective that markets will recover and we have to bring the industry through the current difficulties.”

There’s no silver bullet issue, the Minister said and there there’s a combination of initiatives in place [to try and tackle the crisis].

The Minister said that his Department is working with the European Commission, in trying to reduce tariffs on fertilisers and reduce input costs.

On direct aid from the Commission, the Minister said that it’s an option that’s still on the cards and that he is awaiting Commission proposals on the area.

Minister Creed also said that he will be leading a trade delegation to China in the autumn and that the dairy sector will be a big part of that mission.

Improving market access and opening the market to new products will be the aim of the mission, he said.