Irish farming leaders have demanded immediate action by the European Commission (EC) to resolve the income crisis facing farming, especially in the grain, dairy and pigs sectors.
Addressing farmers from every sector and every part of Ireland at a protest outside the EC offices in Dublin yesterday, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president, Eddie Downey, urged EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan to “move now” to implement EU measures to underpin the viability of farming families.
Included in the IFA’s call for action was a specific move to ease the pressure on the country’s pig producers with the association’s pigs committee chairman, Pat O’Flaherty, stating that pig farmers across Ireland and the EU were already in a “serious loss-making situation”.
“It is critical that the EC looks to re-open markets, including Russia, for pork products,” he said. “We also need to see the introduction of aid for private storage and export refunds to assist in the re-balancing of European markets.”
President Downey also commented on Ireland’s pig sector problems, stating that producers were fighting a “constant battle” to achieve increased efficiency at present, only to see their investment being “eaten up” by prices which were well below the cost of production and a long way below what was available this time last year.
Returning to an all-species platform, the IFA president then called on Irish farm minister, Simon Coveney, to “intensify” his efforts to get markets open for Irish produce in the US and China. He also told the minister that all EU payments will have to be made on time this year, with a 75% advance of the Basic Payment being secured, along with a “strong funding” result from October’s budget.