Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

IFA call for State to 'top up' EU aid

Pigmeat markets are struggling.
Pigmeat markets are struggling.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farmers have urged the State to top up the €13.7m of EU aid to provide a significant support to prop up the struggling dairy and pigmeat markets.

"If the Government match the EU funding, it will deliver a more substantial package," said IFA dairy spokesman Sean O'Leary.

In an interview with the Farming Independent, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said "we'll look at how best to allocate that money in terms of the broader interests of dairy farmers in the market place - around income support, around the capital assistance that they need".

Some 57,000 farmers are due to begin receiving their Areas of Natural Constraints scheme payments worth some €117m in the coming days, while more than €750m will be paid out next month as 70pc of EU direct payments is delivered early.

Meanwhile, the second tranche of GLAS applications will open on the week of October 12.

Meanwhile, Mr Coveney said there had been a 300pc increase in the production of protein crops of peas, beans and lupins this year after the introduction of a coupled Protein Aid Scheme.

He said in order to fully  utilise the €4m set aside for the scheme the rate of aid will be  increased from €250 to €280/ha. 

Pig farmers met with processors yesterday to discuss the sluggish market that has been hard hit by the year-long Russian embargo which has seen product flood onto other markets.

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Joe Ryan, from Meat Industry Ireland (MII), said they have been calling for a revamped aid to private storage (APS) scheme to avoid the situation earlier this summer when APS product flooded the market.

Mr Ryan said market imbalance was severe enough to eliminate the seasonal lift in prices during the summer months.

However, the finer details of exactly how Ireland’s share of the ‘direct aid’ monies targeted at the dairy and pigmeat sectors  will be worked out at next week’s Dairy Forum and in consultation with the industry.

“Most of the focus so far has been on the amount of money for the national envelope which is only part of the issue here. The main focus is to try and get better prices back into dairy markets as soon as possible,” said Mr Coveney.

Mr O’Leary said they were continuing to analyse potential delivery mechanisms.

Indo Farming