EU Commission public stocks of skimmed milk powder fully sold off

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

At the last tender sale, the remaining 162 tonnes of skimmed milk powder out of a total, original amount of 380,000 tonnes in public stocks were sold, fully emptying as a result the total stocks bought and managed by the Commission.

Following the dairy market crisis that hit EU producers with lower prices in 2015-2016, the European Commission bought from 2015 to 2017 a total of 380,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder (SMP) through public intervention.

The objective was to stabilise the market and support farmers' income.

From the end of 2016, a process of monthly and later bi-monthly public tenders was opened by the Commission to carefully sell the products back into the market without disrupting it.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said sale of the last remaining public stocks of skimmed milk powder closes a chapter and is a vindication of the Commission's patience and prudent management of the whole process since 2015.

"The results of the Commission's actions are higher prices and a stable market. Once again, the European Commission has shown its commitment and support to and solidarity with European farmers in times of crisis.

"It also illustrates the necessity and the efficiency of the Common Agricultural Policy's instruments. The right tools acted as a vital safety net during a time of significant market disturbance and their appropriate and timely deployment has helped to secure the viability of hundreds of thousands of European dairy farmers.”

Two years and a half since the first public tender, the public stocks are now empty and the milk price has significantly increased from 26 cent per kilo in summer 2016 to 34 cent per kilo in May 2019.

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With today's sale of 162 tonnes, there is no skimmed milk powder left out of the original 380,000 tonnes and all 14 Member States that were storing skimmed milk powder on behalf of the Commission have managed to empty their stock.

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