Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Hogan can’t understand why EU dairy farmers are protesting

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

European Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan has expressed his bemusement at a protest by dairy farmers outside EU buildings in Brussels this week.

Hogan said there has been a 25pc increase in milk prices and stated that average increase in some countries has been as high as 40 or 50pc.

“The average EU milk price is now as high as it was in January 2015.

However, Hogan did acknowledge the fragility of the market. I am not at all complacent in relation to these increases in prices and we continue to monitor the situation,” the Commissioner said.

Image: Jonathan Gaventa (Twitter)
Image: Jonathan Gaventa (Twitter)

The European Milk Board staged the protest in Brussels due to the Commission’s decision to begin to sell-off some of its stocks of publicly owned milk powder. A decision which they believe will have a negative effect on milk prices.

It says market intervention does not solve any problem on the market, but rather serves as an instrument to prolong this lasting crisis.

However, Hogan said the Commission intends to be prudent about putting skimmed milk powder on the market

“As you can see over the last three tenders we have rejected two of them on the basis that the price was insufficient.

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“I reassured Agriculture Ministers that we will continue to be very prudent in the way that it will come on to the market to ensure we would not damage the price being paid to farmers,” he said.

Last week, the European Commission announced the result of its second tender for its giant reserves of Skimmed Milk Powder sold into public ownership over the past two years.

In its most recent tender, the Commission put forward over 11,000t of stock however, no bidders were willing to pay the Commission’s minimum price.

It comes following a similarly poor tender late last year for the stock with less than 40t out of a possible 20,000t sold at the Commissions minimum price of €2,150/t.

The Commission has been praised in some quarters for thus far not selling its reserves 'cheap', however concerns have been raised over the length of time it can hold onto the stock.

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