‘Processors must step up to the mark’

DUP MLA Willaim Irwin
DUP MLA Willaim Irwin

DUP MLA William Irwin has stated processors in Northern Ireland have the capacity to offer dairy farmers more for their milk.

Mr Irwin commented that a weaker Sterling means processors are receiving higher returns for their exports and on top of this fact, in Northern Ireland, milk supplies have shown a downward spiral year on year and across mainland Britain supplies are down by as much as 10%.

Mr Irwin went on to say the current pressures on the dairy sector “demanded a favourable response from processors”.

“Farmers across most sectors have been under tremendous pressure in recent times and as I make a point of regularly speaking to farmers on the ground, I know that farmers are concerned by the general price trend and the difficulties this is presenting for running a farm and of course the major negative impact on farm incomes,” he said.

“As a dairy farmer, I am all too aware of the issues facing the dairy sector currently and many farmers involved in this sector remain concerned at the fact the market conditions show little sign of recovery in the immediate term.

“At this time of year dairy farm input costs are at their lowest with cows grazing out in the field, however with prices so suppressed this isn’t giving any relief as dairy farmers are loosing money and incomes are already at breaking point. The current EU aid package being discussed is still some way off and there are concerns over elements of the scheme including a voluntary reduction in milk supply and the potential longer term effects of this type of scheme.

“The current difficulties require a response from processors as I believe that they are able to offer producers more for their product and if processors actually stepped up to the mark on this issue, it would provide immediate assistance to the sector and at this point for many producers, any assistance at all would be warmly welcomed.

“Dairy markets remain volatile however it is vital that our banks continue to provide assistance, advice and support in order to see the sector through this uncomfortable financial predicament.”