IFA: Price slump drives farm incomes to breaking point
Protest highlights plummeting margins in dairy, grain and pigmeat sectors
Published 02/09/2015 | 02:30
More than 2,000 farmers marched in Dublin yesterday to demand immediate action on the farm income crisis facing tens of thousands of families.
IFA members released pigs, spilled grain and led a dairy cow through the city streets as they picketed the EU Commission offices on Lower Mount Street.
The protest came ahead of a farmers' rally in Brussels next Monday which will demand action over plummeting milk prices, the Russian ban on dairy and pigmeat imports, and the potential income crisis facing grain farmers.
The IFA's leader Eddie Downey has warned farmers in many sectors are under "severe pressure" due to factors including the year-long Russian ban on EU imports combined with severe price volatility.
"Political decisions on farm policies taken in Europe over the Russian trade ban means there is an oversupply of dairy and pigmeat in the EU markets," he said, ahead of next week's EU emergency meeting of Agriculture Ministers.
The plunge in milk prices is part of a 'treble whammy' for dairy farmers as some have been hit with a share of Ireland's €69m superlevy bill and are also facing high tax bills following last year's buoyant prices.
Sean O'Leary, the IFA's dairy committee chair, called for the EU Commission to use the €800m superlevy fund to support dairy farmers.
Plummeting prices for milk on the world dairy markets has seen the margins for dairy farmers fall by over 90pc over the last 16 months, he warned.