Hatch takes the plight of farmers off to Brussels

Alderman Arnold Hatch.
Alderman Arnold Hatch.

Alderman Arnold Hatch is taking the plight of the dairy farmers to Europe.

The member of Europe’s Committee of the Regions is heading for Brussels soon to lobby the agricultural committee to provide intervention for the beleaguered farming industry.

“I also intend to lobby the EU Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan and ask him to raise the dairy farmers’ intervention price which was set over 10 years ago and is totally unrealistic when compared to today’s costs of production,” he added.

“Farmers are protesting all across Europe and I am hopeful of us all speaking with a united voice on this issue, otherwise many farmers will go out of business, and Northern Ireland will be the much poorer for it.

“Ok – the price was right this time last year, but unpredictable like over=production and the problems from Russia and China have swung things around.”

He has praised the province’s dairy farmers “who took decisive action to protest at the supermarkets over recent weeks”.

He went on, “Processors make a gross margin of approximately three pence per litre compared to approximately 29 pence per litre for the supermarkets. Yet, the farmers – who have worked a lifetime on the dairy farms – are losing out to the point of near-bankruptcy. The supermarket owners should be hanging their heads in shame by exploiting these hard-working people. It can’t be allowed to continue.”