Milk levy would provide boost for dairy industry – Doherty

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the decision from the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to begin a consultation process on the introduction of a milk levy. Deputy Doherty said the revenue raised would be ring fenced to promote dairy products and target new markets.

“The Minister for Agriculture, like all of his Cabinet colleagues, has had to engage in some very innovative thinking in the run up to Budget 2012, due to our constrained economic circumstances. I believe Minister Coveney has delivered a programme of measures that will support growth and innovation in the agri-food sector.

“One such measure is the possible introduction of a milk levy. The Minister is going to begin a consultation process on the proposal in the New Year. The idea is that a very small levy, something in the range of 0.001 cent, could be placed on each litre of milk, to provide funding to specifically promote dairy products.

“I think this is an extremely clever idea; the consumer wouldn’t notice any price difference, while the industry would be provided with a revenue stream for dairy product promotion. This would help the dairy industry to specifically target new markets, realising increased potential and securing the viability of the industry into the future.

“A number of other key elements in the Budget will be of specific benefit to the diary industry. Minister Coveney has announced a series of animal health initiatives, including a voluntary BVD eradication programme, a new initiative to tackle Johnes Disease and changes to the brucellosis testing for dairy herds.

“These are small, cost effective measures that can make a real difference, and, together with the range of other initiatives being implemented by Minister, they will help to foster growth and employment in the agri-food sector.”