Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 24 June 2017

We will give fairness to producers in food chain, says Hogan

EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan tries his hand at driving a remote-control tractor with Eva Nolan (7) from Wexford on the Macra na Feirma stand at the National Ploughing Championships yesterday
EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan tries his hand at driving a remote-control tractor with Eva Nolan (7) from Wexford on the Macra na Feirma stand at the National Ploughing Championships yesterday
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

European Commissioner Phil Hogan says movement is being made on measures to rein in some retail "oligopolies".

He said they were analysing legal measures to see what could be done on a European-wide basis to give fairness to the producer in the food chain.

It comes after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said they needed to "break" some retail supergiants.

"It made a major impact in terms of concentrating the minds of other commissioners," said Mr Hogan, after farmers raised concerns over low-cost selling of food produce. "We are getting significant traction; we are studying the Spanish and UK situation.

"We'd like to see fairness to the producer because if you don't have a producer, then you don't have a product.

"I'd like to get the benefit of an evaluation of what is happening in other jurisdictions. It is good in terms of levelling the playing pitch for everybody and harmonising the rules."

Mr Hogan signalled that work was under way to reopen the year-long closure of the Russian market. And he confirmed that individual countries would be briefed on potentially topping up the EU crisis funds.

He said it was expected that all aid measures under the €500m European package would be in place by the end of October to help the dairy and pig sectors.

"We will be presenting to the member states the opportunity for them to top up what is in their national envelope. There will be terms and conditions attached in order to ensure we don't distort competition."

Ireland received €13.7m in direct aid for the pig-meat sector that has seen prices plummet since the Russian embargo on EU food, while dairy farmers have also seen incomes hit.

Prices

The commissioner also highlighted that prices of milk products had risen in the Global Dairy Trade auctions, which he felt was signalling an improvement in "market sentiment".

"Albeit (there) is a lag time for that to feed into the price for the farmer," he said.

Farmers have been calling for the EU to change the prices at which they will intervene to prop up the milk price.

John Comer, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, said only the commission could deal with ruinous peaks and troughs that impact on farm incomes.

Irish Independent