Another week in farming and another divergence of views has been clearly expressed with respect to the state of the dairy sector by the ICMSA and Minister Brendan Smith.
ICMSA Deputy President John O’Leary has claimed that Minister Smith appears wholly uninformed on the “havoc” that’s been visited on the dairy sector due to the fall in world prices.
Not only that, but the damage also inflicted by the ‘ramping up’ of the quota was being felt by every Irish dairy farmer.
Minister Smith earned Mr O’Leary’s ire following his call on the European Commission to facilitate a “genuine soft landing” for the sector once the quota system ceases.
“[His] comments about preparing for a ‘soft landing’ would seem to indicate an ignorance of the real situation that is quite astounding,” said Mr O’Leary.
“The price of milk has effectively been halved in little over a year and here we have the Minister charged with growing this critical sector talking about a ‘soft landing’.
“Anybody reading those comments will have to rub their eyes; this is somebody living in a fantasy world.”
John O’Leary said that during the Minister’s talks in Luxembourg passed without any references to internal market supports or export refunds, “tools that could stem the plummeting milk price.”
He added: “Instead, we get another dose of same economic snake oil that says that when the price of our commodity is falling that we should increase the production of that commodity to try and recoup the fall in income.
“The Minister’s quota policy now has us trapped in a vicious circle of seeking increases in quota to make up for the collapse in milk price, without reference to the fact that it is the increased production that is contributing to the slide in milk price in the first place. This is the hole into which the Department’s policy has tipped us.”