Deputy Tom Fleming (Ind) of Kerry South has expressed his frustration and anger that the Government insists on continuing to charge hard-pressed and struggling farmers with high levies that generate millions of euro each year.
Deputy Fleming, who is calling for a reduction in levies which he described as punishingly high raised the issue with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine who insisted that the levies relating to milk processed and animals slaughtered will not be reviewed.
“It’s a disgrace and very hard pill to swallow for farmers, many of whom are having to work off the farm to make ends meet, to have to continue to pay such high levies and what’s worse to know that reviewing the fees isn’t even on the agenda,” said Deputy Fleming.
“Last week’s budget did little to spread the recovery particularly to farmers who are continuing to shoulder the burden of austerity rather than reaping the rewards of recovery.”
“Last year, a massive €6.6 million was collected from bovine disease levies including €3.1 million at meat plants/ abattoirs and for live exports. A further €5.7 million was generated from the levy per head on slaughtered or exported livestock.”
Deputy Fleming recently put it to Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine through a Parliamentary Question that the levies should be reduced especially in light of the “giveaway budget” it announced last week.
“The An Bord Bia Act, 1994, provides for payment to Bord Bia of a levy per head on slaughtered or exported livestock,” the Minister responded.
“The current levy rate is €1.90 per head for cattle. There are no plans at this point to review the rate of the levy.”
The same was said of the bovine disease levy – the current rates for which are €0. 0006 per litre of milk processed and €1.27 for each animal slaughtered or exported.