THE announcement today by Commissioner Phil Hogan of his intention to increase the flat rate ceiling for Skimmed Milk Powder intervention, buying-in up to 350,000 tonnes, has been welcomed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.
The ceiling had been doubled earlier in the year from 109,000 tonnes to 218,000 tonnes, but indications at this stage are that the entire tonnage has been utilised. Without an increase in the ceiling, intervention moves to a tendering system, which could exert further downward pressure on the intervention price.
Welcoming the Commissioner’s announcement, Minister Creed said: ‘I specifically raised this matter during my recent meeting with the Commissioner. Skimmed Milk Powder Intervention is key EU support tool for dairy markets and is badly needed in this extended period of downward price volatility in the dairy sector.
‘Intervention helps to put a floor under prices and this extension will be of particular benefit for Irish producers through the peak production period. I am delighted that Commissioner Hogan has made this move. I would urge him to ensure that legal effect is given to the decision as a matter of urgency, to minimise the period, of any move to tender-based intervention.’
The Minister added: ‘I am fully aware of the pressures on dairy farmers right now and I am committed to working with all players in the sector both at national and EU level to address these issues and ensure that we continue to have a sustainable dairy sector going forward.’