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Focus on delivering better prices in dairy markets - Coveney


Simon Coveney believes that the market will soon pick up

Simon Coveney believes that the market will soon pick up

Simon Coveney believes that the market will soon pick up

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

A meeting is due to get under way next week to decide how to allocate the 'envelope' of direct aid from Europe, with other measures such as Aids to Private Storage (APS) designed to remove products from the shelves and help put a floor on the market price.

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

In an interview with the Farming Independent as the National Ploughing Championships gets under way today in Ratheniska, Co Laois, 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."

After dairy farmers saw prices fall by a third after the abolition of quotas, Mr Coveney said he firmly believed the market would pick up and the €500m total EU aid package would give it the time required to recover.

"They (the EU) are pumping quite strong resources into market intervention, which will hopefully take product off the market at no cost to our companies," he said.

"The main focus is to try and get better prices back into dairy markets as soon as possible."


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, it was confirmed that the second tranche of applications for the agri-environment scheme GLAS will open on October 12.

Mr Coveney said there had been a 300pc increase in the production 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 would be increased from €250 to €280 per hectare.

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 on to other markets.

Joe Ryan, from industry body Meat Industry Ireland, said it had been calling for a revamped APS scheme to avoid the situation earlier this summer, when held product later flooded the market.

Mr Ryan said a combination of factors led to an "unusual" situation where there was no seasonal lift in pig meat prices.

Irish Independent