IFA Scaremongering About Milk Isn’t A Strategy, Say Strathroy. Ruairi Cunningham of Strathroy Dairy has described the Irish Farmers’ Association publication last week of its Strategy for Irish Produced Fresh Milk as scaremongering and unhelpful and misleading for farmers and consumers.
He said: “With the catastrophic move towards Brexit gaining momentum, these are uncertain times for the entire Agri Sector in Ireland, North and South. What farmers and consumers are looking for is leadership, action and direction, not scaremongering, inaccuracy and fake news.
“This ‘Strategy’ contains a number of serious and misleading assertions about the Irish milk market. We have been in contact with the IFA, via our legal representatives, to correct the false assertions that they have published recklessly.”
He said: “The report devotes an entire section to Brexit and leads with the utterly misleading statement that” ‘One quarter of the Republic of Ireland’s fresh milk market is currently sourced from NI, and is produced and processed there.”
Mr Cunningham explained; “Currently Strathroy source more milk in RoI than we sell into that market. The IFA statement is wholly inaccurate and does a serious disservice to farmers in the South working with ourselves. It is potentially damaging farmers’ livelihoods. The percentage of the RoI fresh milk market that is produced and processed in the North would be less than 5%.”
Strathroy also disputes limiting the description of products from the 26 counties as Irish. “Under the GFA, products from the North are as entitled to be labelled as Irish as products from the South. The IFA appears to have appropriated the term to suit a particular agenda, and they are well aware of the terminology. Their stance is completely at odds with that taken by ICOS, who have stated that all produce from the island should be labelled as Irish. ICOS have their eye on the ball, and are looking towards marketing Irish dairy produce post-Brexit. Meanwhile, the IFA are distracted by short-term local issues of no consequence to the vast majority of dairy farmers. Is the tail wagging the dog?
“The IFA ‘Strategy’ also states that 75% of fresh milk for the Irish retail market is sourced from suppliers in the South. Again, this is incorrect. These statistics are sourced from National Milk Agency, who must be challenged, via IFA, to back up their figures. It is a fact that Strathroy source approx. 80 million litres per annum from farmers in the South with whom we have built a strong relationship.”
“We at Strathroy have given assurances to a number of our customers that the products supplied to them use only milk sourced in RoI. The statements on page 10 cannot be left unchallenged. It is quite simply wrong and the IFA needs to clarify.
Mr Cunningham concluded: “The IFA report refers to the fallout from Brexit as having a destabilising impact which would affect the entire dairy scene, including liquid milk. It is incumbent on the IFA and other agencies involved to provide accurate information and some leadership instead of publishing inaccurate figures and contributing to farmers genuine fears.”