Support is needed for dairy industry

MP Gregory Campbell appeals for EU aid for farmers, who get about 19p a litre for milk. They say they need about 27p a litre to break even.  Photo: Colm Lenagham/Pacemaker

MP Gregory Campbell appeals for EU aid for farmers, who get about 19p a litre for milk. They say they need about 27p a litre to break even. Photo: Colm Lenagham/Pacemaker

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East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell says the Province’s dairy industry needed support aid from the EU to help farmers, who have seen their incomes drop by over a third in the last year.

Mr Campbell said the effect of this had resulted in farmers producing milk which was now being sold on below cost.

“The downturn in milk price has a greater impact on our farmers here in Northern Ireland compared to Great Britain milk producers, because we export 80 per cent of the milk we produce compared to Great Britain who have to import,” he said.

“This has also impacted more with Northern Ireland producers because of the currency differential between sterling and the Euro.

“The fall in income for our dairy farmers is also having a knock on effects within the supply chain with an increase in the level of debt to feed suppliers with many of these feed suppliers being small family firms.

“In the short term the European Commission could raise the intervention price of milk.

“My ministerial colleague Arlene Foster has brought to the attention of the Prime Minister the need for a support package in place for the dairy industry and my colleague 
Diane Dodds MEP along with dairy representatives met EU Commissioner Hogan to call for immediate measures to deal with the crisis facing our dairy farmers.

“In the long term we require measures which will deal with structural reform both of the industry and the supply chain. It is also important that the Government puts pressure on retailers to purchase UK dairy products,” Mr Campbell said.