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ICOS seeks urgent EU action on dairy

Wednesday, September 03 11:08:05

Speaking ahead of a meeting today with the European Commission, T.J. Flanagan, ICOS Dairy Executive, today said that the recent collapse in dairy markets demands urgent action.

The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society executive said that the Fonterra auction prices have almost halved since the Spring and that a "dramatic and bold move" is needed now by the Commission to halt the decline.

While he welcomed the recent moves on introducing Storage Aid for Butter SMP and some cheeses, he said that the Commission's failure to at least consider targeted Export Refunds, was "disappointing".

What is needed, he said, is a strong statement that would boost sentiment in the markets.

He called on the Commission to change their minds on Export Refunds and to instigate the process of increasing Intervention prices from their current level, equivalent to 20c per litre, back up to the level they were at a decade ago, around 26c.]

Milk production costs have skyrocketed in the last ten years and the present 20c support level is plainly not adequate, he said.

Mr Flanagan added that the EU should fund these measures from outside the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

"The difficulties caused by the Russian embargo are clearly Geopolitical and are not Agri-related. Overall decisive action is now required by the European Commission on the Intervention price," he said.

ICOS represents co-operatives and organisations in Ireland, including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts, whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of E14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.

For more, visit www.businessworld.ie