22 APRIL 2020
ICSA president Edmond Phelan has welcomed the announcement of Aids to Private Storage for beef and lamb but says that the overall effort from the EU falls very short of what is required. “It is beyond belief that the EU continues to take such a laid back approach to the greatest economic catastrophe since 1929. The meat sector in particular is under immense pressure, due to the fact that prices were only beginning to improve from the disastrous lows of 2019.”
“The closure of food service across Europe has been spectacularly damaging to an export dependent sector like Irish beef. 31% of our production goes into food service and some of the manufacturing product also ends up in food service so anything that counteracts that has to be a step in the right direction.
However, the real measure of APS will be whether it brings an improvement in prices to the primary producer. From a farmer’s perspective, beef price needs to rise substantially. At current prices, farmers will not feed cattle anymore.”
“ICSA will be keeping the pressure on the government for a proper income support package for farmers which needs to be funded by extraordinary EU funding. Moving the deck chairs within the current CAP framework is not a serious effort to deal with an extraordinary crisis. Farmers are close to the brink in relation to cash flow and no business can endure without that. This needs to be a priority of government formation talks and it is disappointing that so little has been heard from any party in terms of Covid policies in respect of the farming sector.”