Smith expresses concern about lack of movement on price intervention review

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Border Region Development, Brendan smith T.D. says the Agriculture Minister and his European counterparts cannot continue to ignore calls to review price intervention levels. A European Commission support package announced last week, to support dairy and pork farmers, fails to fully address price volatility and price intervention levels.

Deputy Smith stated, “while I welcome some of the measures presented by the Commission, which replicate what Fianna Fáil outlined in its 7 point plan to tackle the dairy crisis published in advance of this emergency European meeting, it fails to adequately address the very serious issue of price intervention levels. In fact, Minister Coveney has remained silent on his failure to secure a consensus with his European colleagues to review the current price intervention levels.

“While extending private storage aid in dairy and opening a new private storage scheme for pig meat is of course welcome, greater market stability mechanisms are urgently needed at EU level to address the continued fall in milk prices. The current EU price intervention level does not provide protection from extreme price changes and this must change.

“Fianna Fáil has previously called on the Minister, his European counterparts, and the Commission to trigger the review mechanism under the 2013 CAP regulation. The current intervention levels were set in 2003 and do not reflect the higher production costs that Irish farmers are facing. The fact that there has been no movement on this is extremely disappointing.

“Despite my misgivings about the failure to make any progress on the price intervention levels, Commissioner Hogan’s commitment to tackle supply chain challenges and unfair trading practices is welcome. Fianna Fáil made a submission to the Commissioner on this vital issue recently. We fully support European level action to ensure the proper functioning of the food sector, which will compel major food retailers to disclose their profit margins.

“Fianna Fáil look forward to continued cooperation with Commissioner Hogan on this issue, which is seriously affecting farmers’ profitability margins”.