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Dairy Forum To Discuss EU Market, Competitiveness

17 February 2010

IRELAND - Irish Farmers' Association President, John Bryan has reconvened the Dairy Forum, which brings together the leaders of stakeholders in the dairy industry: co-ops, industry organisations and the Irish Dairy Board.

John Bryan said, “My purpose in reconvening the Dairy Forum, which met twice last year, is to mobilise the entire dairy industry to form a common front to ensure that our Government and the EU Commission are clear that, for dairy farmers, the dairy crisis is not over.”

He said, “Farmers are still receiving prices 3 to 4 c/l short of break even. They need to see their milk price recover to at least 28c/l this year just to cover costs and pay themselves a very modest wage, though this will not suffice to make up for the considerable financial losses accumulated last year.”

“It is critical for the EU Commission to stay just as committed to supporting and managing dairy markets in 2010 as it was in 2009. In particular, it needs to reinstate export refunds immediately, manage intervention stocks with much greater sensitivity to their impact on the market. Minister for Agriculture and his officials have a major role to play in obtaining this in Brussels,” he said.

John Bryan said, “Our Government also needs to seriously address some of the issues which hamper our sector’s ability to play its full part in helping the Irish economy recover. The cost of doing business in this country relative to our competitors has not been fully addressed, and access to and cost of credit remains a major obstacle. There is also massive scope for simplification of bureaucracy both at farm and processing level,” he added.

“Our plan is for the Dairy Forum to agree on a programme of issues of common interest to the entire industry, to be pursued together both at home and in Brussels,” he said.

“And while it is not the primary purpose of bringing the industry together in the Dairy Forum this week, it would be remiss of me not to make the most of the occasion to urge all co-ops to genuinely engage in the current consolidation talks. Co-op boards have a responsibility to their shareholders to deliver an industry which is fit for the new market realities, and better able to return viable milk prices to the farmers that own it,” he concluded.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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