Commenting on today’s decision by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, as conveyed to the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers, to extend the duration of both APS and intervention past 30th September, IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary said this was helpful, but not sufficient.
“EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney both know that the EU regulation governing intervention under the Common Agriculture Policy legally mandates the EU Commission to monitor production costs and market conditions, and where necessary to update intervention prices accordingly, to provide a genuine ‘safety net’”, Mr O’Leary said.
“The Private Storage scheme has been in strong use, especially for butter, and is undoubtedly helping to hold prices from collapsing to current intervention levels. However, it has not halted the continued slide in EU dairy returns,” he said.
“In the current context of extreme volatility, with low dairy returns lasting much longer than expected, and bearing in mind the enormous pressures on dairy farmers’ margins from massive cash flow demands, there is no doubt that the EU Commission is fully legally justified in announcing and starting an immediate review of intervention prices,” he said.
“Our position on this matter is supported unanimously by EU Farm Organisation COPA, and by the European Parliament in its recent report on dairy policy. I urge Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to lobby fellow European Agri Ministers to pressure the EU Commission to begin urgently this review of the dairy intervention “safety net” level,” he concluded.