The price of milk to farmers has fallen by 24% in recent weeks and I predicted that situation would arise as long as a year ago. The intervention price of milk is 20c a litre but a lot of farmers borrowed money based on a price of 28c per litre. The situation across Europe is that prices there have fallen by only 17% to 18% there so the reduction here is much larger. The reality is that the situation could be much worse if the Euro was strong, because it is at it’s weakest at… the moment. Minister Coveney needs to go to the EU Commissioner Mr Phil Hogan immediately and get him to deal with the intervention price issue. From research that I have done I am aware that Canada would welcome Irish milk products with open arms and that there are also market possibilities in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Minister and the authorities here must explore the possibilities in other markets and not to be relying on the same customers all the time. I raised this matter in the Dail this week but Minister Coveney was not present and I will be raising the matter again next week as a matter of urgency.
There has also been a sharp fall in the price of sheep in recent weeks and I am urging that the live export market of sheep is maintained and expanded to avoid a cartel of factories being established as happened in the cattle industry