Jump to content

A delegation from ICOS led by ICOS President Martin Keane and Dairy Committee Chairman Jerry Long, has met with Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and his team ahead of this week’s EU Ministerial Agri Council meeting.

Keane used the opportunity to press home to Commissioner Hogan an understanding of the protracted difficulties currently faced by the Irish dairy sector and the extent to which dairy co-operatives have been supporting their members over the past 12 months.  He told Commissioner Hogan that there is a need for decisive action by the Commission to address these issues in the face of continuing volatility in world dairy markets.

In a wide ranging and constructive discussion ICOS suggested measures necessary to alter current conditions:

Short term:

  • A more flexible approach to the operation of Private Storage Aid tool, such as the re-inclusion of cheese and adjusting timings of product entry and exit.
  • Superlevy funds collected should be reinvested in dairy market supports, including emergency intervention to address the market overhang caused by the Russian ban.
  • Early payment of a significant portion of this year’s direct payments to aid the cash flow crisis at farm level.

 Medium term:

  • Trigger the review mechanism of the CAP to increase intervention threshold prices to reflect higher production costs.
  • EU to redouble its efforts to further open third country markets including robust promotion measures.
  • Strengthening of the European Milk Market Observatory which can facilitate the development of a European Dairy Futures market. This tool could be used by co-ops on behalf of their members to counter volatility.
  • European Investment Fund needs to be leveraged in conjunction with our Rural Development Plan to encourage investment in our co-operative industry, and especially for the development of young farmers.

Martin Keane said, “Europe must act now to stabilise the position of its dairy sector so that it will retain its strength and competitiveness on a global basis.  If appropriate measures are taken now, this will enable the Irish and European dairy industry to benefit positively from a market resurgence when it takes place.”

By Conor Mulvihill, European Affairs Executive