The Ulster Farmers Union participated in an EU-wide demonstration in Brussels on Monday (September 7) to highlight the continuing impact of falling prices for all the key products of European farming.
The union led a delegation of 22 representatives who joined approximately 6,000 farmers from across Europe in a protest timed to coincide with an emergency meeting of the EU agriculture ministers.
The four UK farm union presidents met during the protest with Secretary of State Liz Truss, cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead, deputy minister Rebecca Evans and agriculture minister, Michelle O’Neill in order to once again press the key priorities, including the critical importance of short term measures to ease cash flow problems on farms, the need for a review of the intervention price in the dairy sector, the potential for short term credit and longer term investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the need for more transparency across the whole supply chain.
The aim of the UK farming unions going forward is to continue the joint approach. Ahead of the EU agriculture ministers meeting a two-page document of ‘asks’ was agreed by the four unions and sent to the European Commission in order to influence their thinking prior to the presentation of their package of measures.
While UFU welcome the fact that the Commission now acknowledge there is a crisis in the industry the announcement of an aid package of 500m euro is nowhere near enough to compensate farmers for the loss of their main export market Russia. It is now time for the Commission to demonstrate strong leadership by urgently putting further mechanisms in place to ease cash flow pressures as we move into what will be one of the toughest winters in memory for many farming families.