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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 27 Feb 1990

Vol. 396 No. 3

Written Answers. - Agricultural Prices.

William Cotter


118 Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if, in view of the alarming difficulties which are facing all sectors of the farming community, he will make strong representations to the European Commission urging that the proposal to freeze prices this year be dispensed with and that prices be increased to a level that will ensure the survival of the farming community in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Commission's proposals on agricultural prices for 1990-91. in general, provide for a freeze in Community prices. However, in the case of a number of member states, price increases are proposed because of "green" currency adjustments — in our case this would amount to 2 per cent for products other than beef. The corresponding increase for beef was obtained last year. Furthermore there should be additional benefits to Irish producers if the rural development measures which accompany the price proposals this year are adopted. Included among these measures are proposals for the buying up and reallocation of milk quotas, extension of the suckler cow premium to smaller scale milk producers, a cash premium for small scale producers of cereals and a special ewe premium from 1991.

It is also worth noting that for the first time in recent years the Commission has not proposed an adjustment of intervention mechanisms, a device which in the past has served effectively to reduce support for products such as beef, cereals and milk.

Finally, I should emphasise that the proposals are still under negotiation. I will, of course, be seeking the best possible outcome for Irish producers in the final decision.