Fine Gael TD John Deasy says this week’s opening of the new €50 million TAMS II Dairy Equipment Scheme is essential for Waterford farmers looking to increase production efficiencies following the abolition of milk quotas.
With a standard aid rate of 40% available, the funding will assist dairy farmers to modernise milking parlour technology.
Deasy said: “Already we're beginning to see major volatility in global milk prices. Demand from China has eased and Russia’s response to EU sanctions has had a major effect on prices. It has been compensated by a drought in New Zealand, but we now know we’re in a global market.
“Waterford farmers should avail of TAMS II as much as they can. The long term outlook for milk is still very good but a lot will depend on how efficient and technologically advanced individual operations are,” he added.
The scheme covers investment in milking machines, milk cooling and storage equipment, water heating and in-parlour feeding systems. All applications must be made online. The first funding round opens next week and runs until early October.
Following a recent visit by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee to Vietnam, additional resources have been sanctioned to market the Irish dairy sector in Southeast Asia.
Waterford TD John Deasy, who led the delegation, said: “The inescapable fact is that Vietnam needs to be immediately targeted by Bord Bia due to the ending of the quota regime.
“The European Commission will shortly finalise a free trade agreement with Vietnam and by extension gain access to 630 million consumers in the ASEAN group of countries.”
He added: “A good deal has happened since our return. Following conversations I’ve had with Simon Coveney, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has agreed to fund additional Bord Bia personnel in emerging markets.
“Based on the draft report we’ve been working on, a Bord Bia presence in Vietnam to specifically target food and dairy industry trade links has been agreed in principle. We’ve also been in contact with Bord Bia who support this measure.”
Mr Deasy said: “One criticism we heard was that all of our bets seems to be placed on China. At present Bord Bia’s staff in that part of the world is based in Shanghai, while Enterprise Ireland operates out of Singapore.
“If we want a greater piece of the export trade dominated by countries such as New Zealand and Holland then we need to put resources in place to carry out market analysis and promotion; creating awareness of our capacity to produce premium dairy goods, including infant milk formula for instance,” the Fine Gael deputy added.
“Our local dairy farmers in Waterford rely on Bord Bia to expand the global market in order to sell their produce. We need to spread the risk associated with the volatility across the dairy sector by entering new territories such as Vietnam and other emerging economies.”