SUBSTANTIALLY MORE FUNDING AND SUPPORTS NEEDED FOR BEEF SECTOR IN CRISIS – IFA
IFA President Joe Healy said today (29 July) that given the increasing threat of a no-deal Brexit, substantially more EU and Government funding and supports will be needed for the beef sector.
Joe Healy was responding to the details announced by Minister Creed this morning for the distribution of the €100m fund, first announced by Commissioner Hogan last May.
He said farmers urgently need more support and a clear roadmap from Brussels and Dublin as to how they will support the agricultural sector, should a no-deal Brexit come to pass.
The scheme announced today covers losses from 24th September 2018 to May 10th 2019. While this is important, unfortunately prices have deteriorated much further since May, with base prices down by 45c/kg or €160/Hd.
IFA is calling on the Government and EU Commission to immediately;
- Secure further direct aid support for farmers to deal with losses incurred, particularly for beef farmers, post-May 2019. These ongoing losses are due to the decline in the value of sterling and market disturbance arising from Brexit uncertainty.
- Make available the €1bn EU fund immediately to stabilise the Irish and EU beef market, which is now in crisis.
- Ban the importation of 270,000t of Mercosur beef imports from south America, which has consistently failed to meet European standards in audits by the EU Food and Veterinary Office.
- In the event of a no-deal/hard Brexit which reduces market access and increases barriers to trade, the EU must make available structural and adjustment funding. In this context State-aid rules must be set aside.
- Secure increased funding for the CAP in the next MFF 2021-2027.
- Reject the proposal to cut the Irish allocation by €97m pa and seek an increase to take account of inflation and the extra demands on farmers.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there may be further issues in terms of a shortfall in 2020, EU or national funding may be required in this instance.
IFA President Joe Healy said beef farmers are now in dire straits with the threat of a no-deal Brexit causing mayhem in the EU Beef market, which is now in crisis.
On the €100m scheme itself he said that while he welcomed the fact that animals controlled by factories were excluded, he was concerned that the limits and conditions put in place by Minister Creed could lead to an under spend of the fund.
IFA Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said, “The Minister has said that the payment rate to farmers might be cut if the scheme is over spent. We want a commitment from the Minister that if the money is underspent, that he will re-look at some of the limits and restrictions, or increase the payment rate. It would be a travesty if some this funding went unspent due to restrictions put in place by the Minister,” he said.
“The Minister could have paid this funding on all prime cattle (young bulls, steers and heifers) as set out in IFA’s six principles and ensured the fund was fully spent. We would be concerned that the way the scheme is now structured will result in the fund being underspent,” said Angus Woods.