EU Support Vital for Milk Market Balance

IRELAND - Speaking at the Glanbia EGM convened to vote on the 1c/l co-op milk price top-up, IFA President Padraig Walshe said IFA had this week been in contact with senior EU Commission officials to emphasise the need for targeted, short term market supports in the butter sector.
calendar icon 16 January 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

He said exceptional measures, particularly adequate levels of export refunds, were critical to help rebalance dairy markets and support prices in the Spring of 2009. Mr Walshe urged Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith and his officials to pursue this as a matter of priority over the coming days.

“The current extreme volatility of markets is a result of the global economic slowdown, and there is an onus on the EU Commission to provide the necessary exceptional supports required to help rebalance dairy markets and support milk prices,” Padraig Walshe said.

“Dairy farmers know that at the average milk price of 30c/l in 2008, there were no fortunes made milking cows,” he added.

“Any price cuts over last year will damage the long term confidence in the industry,” he added.

“To help rebalance dairy markets, and to provide the support currently required for milk prices, we need to make strategic use of at least some of the market support measures which remain legally available. Chiefly among those, properly targeted export refunds have a very important part to play,” he said.

“The EU Commission must understand that in the run up to quota abolition, it cannot abruptly and totally disengage from providing transitional market supports to help provide the “soft landing” Commissioner Fischer-Boel has been talking about so often,” Padraig Walshe said.

“Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith must secure targeted market supports from the EU for the butter market as a matter of urgency,” he concluded.

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