Farmers Facing “Economic Disaster” Unless EU’s COVID Funding Increases

The Cratloe-based general secretary of the ICSA is warning that farmers are facing an “economic disaster” unless the EU ups its funding to protect against COVID-19.

It follows the announcement of an €80 million aid package by the European Commission, which has been labelled “totally inadequate” and “an insult” by farming groups in Ireland.

It equates to just €8 per farmer across the EU.


As has been the case in many sectors, the agrifood industry has taken a severe hit due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

In response, the European Commission has announced an €80 million support package for the sector, which includes private storage aid for some meat and dairy products, as well as provisions to allow products be withdrawn for up to six months, to re-balance the market.

It’s received a mixed response in Ireland, with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed cautiously welcoming the deal but stating that a more comprehensive range of measures is still required.

Cratloe-based Eddie Punch, who is general secretary of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, says it simply doesn’t go far enough.

When broken down, the €80 million package works out at roughly €8 per farmer, across the 27 member states of the EU.

This has been harshly criticised by a number of farming groups here, with the Irish Farmers Association labelling it “completely inadequate”.

Its Clare chair, Parteen farmer Tom Lane, says the current situation is not viable for farmers, and he agrees more aid measures are needed to help them emerge from the crisis.