According to ICOS, while Europe goes into lockdown, dairy farmers and processors are busier than ever, however, with the foodservice industry across the EU and the US now ground to a halt and with increasing difficulties for exports relating to new trade restrictions and increasing costs, the fallout from COVID-19 is putting considerable pressure on the sector.
“With hotels, restaurants and catering services across the EU and the US shut down for the foreseeable future, there has been a significant knock-on effect for dairy products destined for this food service industry. In many cases these products will be shifted to the production of retail products, where possible, and therefore sold through the supermarkets. However, the majority will need to be shifted to the production of butter and powders and placed into storage to wait until the market recovers. With this growing demand for storage by agri-food processors, it is becoming increasingly costly for organisations to do even this,” read a statement from the Society.
“We are also calling on the Commission to ensure the maintenance of the European Single Market at the time. It is vital for the free flow of goods to continue, and border restrictions or trade barriers to be avoided in these times.”
ICOS (the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts – whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14 billion, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and a further 24,000 people overseas.