The opportunity for a farmer controlled re-alignment of the milk processing sector in the northern half of Ireland arises from the current need of LacPatrick Co-op for a new business partner.
This was stated by independent MEP Marian Harkin when she suggested that a merger of the co-operatives in the border area was long overdue. “The challenges of doing business with an ever concentrating customer base, combined with the challenges of Brexit, require an effective and timely response from the farmer controlled border area co-operatives”, she urged.
For decades the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) had recognised the need to build on the unitary strength of the co-operative movement but had seen, in the past, private enterprise taking over a border area co-operative which logically should have become part of a neighbouring farmer controlled enterprise”, she said.
The co-operative movement founded by Sir Horace Plunkett had a basic tenet that the co-operative method was a mechanism to deliver ‘self help through mutual help’ and in the challenging times ahead there was no better structure to protect the interests of farmers, she said.
She called on the Chairmen and Chief Executives of the cross border co-ops to immediately meet under the auspices of the ICOS to ensure that a world class co-op would be created, together with LacPatrick, to service farmers north and south of the border for the hard years ahead”, Marian Harkin MEP concluded.