Ritchie calls for intervention as dairy industry reaches crisis

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has called for key steps to be taken to protect dairy farmers before the industry reaches crisis. Following the launch of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Dairy Report, Ritchie – the only Northern Ireland MP on the committee – outlined urgent key measures that must be taken to protect farmers who are facing ‘a dairy crisis’ with the volatility in the market set to continue. She said, “Across the dairy industry, farmers are suffering from this sudden shock to the market as prices fall. This report examines key measures which need to be taken to support the dairy industry, which is under extreme pressure, especially in Northern Ireland as our industry depends heavily on exports. “The key measure that must be taken is to review and increase the EU Intervention level that was set over a decade ago and simply does not reflect the reality of production costs in 2015. “The EU Intervention Level is designed to protect farmers if prices fall below a certain level, but the current rate is far too low at 17 pence per litre and means that many farmers would have been forced to exit the industry by the time this level was reached,” she insisted. “The situation for Northern Ireland dairy farmers is particularly difficult as we are so reliant on exports and we are facing the worst effects of the current global imbalance between market demand and supply. “Farmers are having to pay more for the production of milk than they get in return and this trend simply cannot continue. As this report outlines – certain key measures must be taken that will support the dairy industry before it slips further into crisis,” Ritchie added.
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