Furious farmers label milk levy plans a 'direct attack' on Irish Dairy Board
Plans by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to introduce a new dairy marketing levy in the new year have provoked furious opposition within the sector.
The levy of 0.1c/l will fund a specialised dairy marketing section within Bord Bia whose role will be to develop new outlets for extra dairy produce post 2015, in emerging markets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
However, the move has been branded a direct attack on the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) by some within the industry.
The IDB, which is owned by the country's dairy co-ops, is funded by way of a 0.14c/l levy on milk supplied to member co-ops and currently markets around 60pc of Ireland's dairy exports.
While farm organisations insist that they will not pay two milk marketing levies, many within the industry view the minister's announcement as a direct threat to IDB.
In a strongly worded statement, ICOS, the umbrella body for all dairy processing co-operatives, has come out against the proposal.
ICOS president Pat McLoughlin claimed that the "unwarranted levy" had been announced on "a whim".
"It may be more the case that the minister needs to cut operational budgets for the agencies under his remit.