Hogan claims victory as 99% of skimmed milk powder public stocks now sold

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
Stock image.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The latest sale of Skimmed Milk Powder for EU intervention stores saw all Irish product removed from the system

Sources in Brussels suggest that the latest intervention sale saw 18,514 tonnes of SMP sold at a minimum price of €1585t.

The price was up from €1554.90 two weeks ago. It is understood that all Irish Stock has been now removed from the system with in the region of 4,000 t left in stock.

The Commission's previous sale of SMP in intervention saw some 80,000t sold.

The Commission has said that it helped to remove surpluses in a very imbalanced market scenario, playing a decisive role in stabilising prices between 2015 and 2017.

This led to a total of 380,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder being stored in warehouses across the European Union.

The Commission opened at the end of 2016 a process of monthly and later bi-monthly public tenders to gradually and cautiously put these stocks back into the market to avoid any kind of disruption or negative effect on producers.

Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said the latest tender is a clear vindication of the Commission's prudential approach to the management of the stock of skimmed milk powder.

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"My objective, at all times, has been to use public intervention as a measure to protect farmers' incomes and, to that extent, we resisted calls over the last three years to reduce stocks through a number of ways or even by simply destroying the stocks.

"None of these options would have achieved the outcome we have now achieved. Instead, our patient approach ensured that not only were European dairy farmers' incomes protected, but so too were the interests of the European taxpayer. Public intervention of skimmed milk powder has proven to be an effective tool, especially when used in a responsible and effective manner and today's and previous tenders are a clear demonstration of the European Commission's commitment to support European farmers when the circumstances demand it.

"It also illustrates that the Common Agricultural Policy contains an effective safety net in the event of such market disturbance as we saw in the years 2014-2016."

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