EU aid package to be paid out within weeks, says Hogan

David Morgan of Crystalyx (centre)  chatting to Mark Doughty, Co Cavan (Lft) and Douglas Shekleton (Co Louth) at this week's Irish Ploughing Match
David Morgan of Crystalyx (centre) chatting to Mark Doughty, Co Cavan (Lft) and Douglas Shekleton (Co Louth) at this week's Irish Ploughing Match

All EU aid monies will be paid out to farmers by the end of October, according to European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“Member state governments will have the opportunity to opt for a national top-up mechanism over the coming days,” he said.

Chatting at the at this week's Irish Ploughing Match:l to r: Mark Linden, Redrock Machinery; Tommy Kelly, Galway; Niall Higgins and William Sayers, D & M Farm Services, Eglinton

Chatting at the at this week's Irish Ploughing Match:l to r: Mark Linden, Redrock Machinery; Tommy Kelly, Galway; Niall Higgins and William Sayers, D & M Farm Services, Eglinton

“But all of these top-ups must be applied in ways that do not distort trade between EU member states.

Hogan attended this year’s Irish National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois.

He said that the enhanced aids to private storage measures for skimmed milk powder and cheese will help bring balance to EU dairy markets.

“We have provision made to store up to 100,000t of each product for up to 12 months. These can then be released back on to the market gradually, over a period of time.

David Alexander, from Strabane, chatting with Iggy Daly, from Easyfix, at this week's Irish Ploughing Match

David Alexander, from Strabane, chatting with Iggy Daly, from Easyfix, at this week's Irish Ploughing Match

“It is encouraging that world markets are starting to strengthen. Hopefully, this trend will be maintained.”

The Commissioner confirmed that Brussels will take affirmative action, where food retailers are concerned, over the coming year.

“We know that farmers are not getting a fair deal at the present time. And this trend must be reversed,” he said.

“Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has specifically highlighted the need for Brussels to investigate the role of the supermarkets. This will ensure that all relevant branches of the Commission will be tasked with this work.

“Initially we will be assessing the supermarket control mechanisms that are currently operative in Spain and the UK. But 2016 will be the year in which greater transparency will be brought to bear throughout the EU agri food chain.”

Hogan confirmed that he will undertake a mid-term review of the Common Agricultural policy in 2017.

“We also need to look specifically at the CAP measures that impact on the sheep sector. Again, this review will be undertaken in 2017 with recommendations forthcoming the following year.