March 16, 2016


Ireland calls for doubling of intervention ceiling on EU's dairy products



The volume of dairy products in the EU - which will trigger official intervention - would double, said Simon Coveney, Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in the country's submission during a meeting of the Council of EU agriculture ministers.


A crisis is currently ongoing in the region as price volatility impacted food commodity markets, especially for dairy and pork.


Under Ireland's submission, the intervention ceiling on skimmed milk powder (SMP) would be raised to 200,000 tonnes, a doubling of quantities permitted into the scheme from its current 109,000 tonnes.  


Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan agreed to the measure, announcing that the Commission would "double the ceilings for SMP and butter to 218,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes, respectively", based on firm support from member states.


Additionally, France has called for control on milk output among member states. The country's proposals entailed an incentive programme to aid in the reduction of EU milk production this year.


However, any voluntary reduction schemes that would part of the measures are not welcomed by Ireland. "Ireland's position on this is very clear. We have made a policy decision for which we have prepared for the last five years in relation to the abolition of dairy quotas. We don't want a reversal of that," Coveney said.


"Member States can implement (such schemes) in their own countries if they wish and they will pay for it themselves," he added, stressing that supply controls "are not the appropriate response".


Ireland also called on the EU Commission to resume a private storage aid scheme for pork given the recent decline in the meat's prices.

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