John Comer the President of ICMSA has today welcomed the vote of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee to support the introduction of a Voluntary Milk Reduction Scheme.
This will be done as part of the policy ‘toolbox’ or permanent crisis instrument to be utilised when milk prices fall to below an agreed level.
Mr Comer stated that there was little doubt that the schemes introduction late last year had been a decisive factor in ending the 2015/2016 milk price collapse.
He felt it also initiated the slow ongoing process of returning farmer milk price to a sustainable level. Mr Comer noted that Irish Creamery Milk Supply Association were alone in encouraging the suggested measures, while the policy was supported at EU level by the European Milk Board - of which ICMSA is the Irish constituent.
Mr Comer commented that the ICMSA were very aware that there is still resistance to such a voluntary scheme, but noted that "the hard fact is that the introduction of the Voluntary Reduction Scheme played a very sigficant and decisive role in putting a floor under the market. He said that it also singalled to the markets that a volume adjustment was on the way with prices expected to strenghten as the adjustment reduction fed through.
Mr Comer said "It is a matter of record that ICMSA was the only group in Ireland that identified and advocated this type of solution to what had become the deepest and most damaging milk price collapse in years and the very prompt take-up of the scheme demonstrated both the need for this type of ‘tool’ and also the ongoing requirement for this type of effective, emergency, volume control mechanism."
The president of the ICMSA insisted they know the process works and the voting shows that MEPS understand the process also.
He concluded with "What we need now is the formalisation of this ‘tool’ and adaptation as a legal policy so that the next time markets come under pressure, farmers can opt to reduce production voluntarily and bring the market back into balance”.