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Coveney Welcomes Presidency Conclusions on Proposal for Support Measures for Dairy and Pigmeat Sectors

Calls for Reduced Fertiliser Prices

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed the Presidency conclusions on the proposal for the package of support measures to address challenges in the dairy and pigmeat sectors.

Speaking after the meeting of the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers in Brussels, the Minister said “The package reflects the majority of the demands presented by Ireland to the Commission in our ten point plan. In particular, the doubling of the intervention ceiling for skimmed milk powder and butter is a very significant announcement.”

He added “I also welcome the Commissioner’s firm undertaking to consider further support for the pigmeat sector through a new scheme for Private Storage Aid (PSA), to look at further flexibilities in the PSA scheme for Skimmed Milk Powder, and to look at further flexibilities in the State Aid regime.

I remain concerned about the references to supply control in the presidency conclusions. However, the measures proposed are voluntary, agreed at the level of the first purchaser of the milk and are strictly temporary in nature. They do not constitute a return to quotas and both the Commission and the Presidency were crystal clear on this point. I am also opposed to allocating new EU funding to incentivise such reductions”.

Referring to the question of input costs at farm level, Minister Coveney said “I have called on the Commission to consider looking at temporary suspension of EU import tariffs on fertilisers to reduce input costs for Irish and EU farmers”.

The Presidency conclusions also referred to the possibility of advance payments under CAP, as was done in 2015.

In addition the Minister confirmed that the direct top-up of €800 will issue to young dairy farmers in the coming days; “This is the final stage in the payment of €26.4m direct aid to dairy farmers funded by the exchequer and the EU”.

During a discussion on the use of financial instruments in the agriculture sector, Minister Coveney said “I welcome the proposal for the European Investment Bank (EIB) and member states to work together with the Commission on the feasibility of an EU export credit tool. However, I believe the EIB needs to be more proactive in designing loan products in partnership with member states”.

Concluding the Minister said “it is clear that we need to deal urgently and effectively with this temporary problem. We must ensure that EU farmers are protected from the worst impacts of low commodity prices in an appropriate way, but remain well placed to avail of emerging opportunities when markets recover”.   

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 27/2016 (pdf 369Kb) 


Date Released: 14 March 2016