Former Ulster Farmers’ Union President Harry Sinclair, who is currently a Vice President of Copa-Cogeca, is heading to Brussels this week for an emergency meeting of Copa-Cogeca’s Praesidium. The EU farm lobbying body, which the UFU is a member of, is meeting this Thursday (4th September) to question EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos on the EU’s response to the Russian import ban.
Copa Vice President Harry Sinclair said; “The Russian ban on EU imports is already having a serious impact on farmers across the EU, and while Russia makes up only a small proportion of Northern Ireland’s food export market the knock-on effect of displaced food products from the EU and further afield is a very real concern. The EU Commission has already brought in support for EU fruit and vegetable producers and looks set to approve a deal on Private Storage Aid for dairy in the near future, which will help to take pressure off dairy markets.
“When we meet the EU Commissioner I will be urging him to look at creating supports for any sector as and when it is needed. Pig producers have been facing difficulties with exports to Russia for a while now and with pig prices falling they will need additional support as well.
We also have concerns in relation to our beef industry as beef farmers here at home have been facing a demoralising situation in recent months with beef prices falling, processors imposing unfair penalties, and all the while retailers are increasing their profit margins on beef. The last thing our beef farmers need is displaced beef products flooding our export markets and making the situation even worse.”