APS storage for Irish cheese oversubscribed within first 24 hours

Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK have already used up 100% of their allocations under the latest Aids to Private Storage (APS) scheme.

The allocation for Ireland – 2,180t or 2.1% of the total allocation – was filled within 24 hours of the scheme opening on May 7 last.

However, industry sources say the situation is unsurprising due to the fact that Ireland received “such a small fraction” of the total cheese APS allocation – even though Irish dairy is responsible for producing 5% of the EU’s cheddar.

As such, it was expected that Ireland would be granted storage for about 5,000t of cheddar.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine gave an update on the applications received up to May 14.

A total of 32 applications for cheese [were received] on the first day of applications – totalling at 3,206t, meaning that the maximum quantity of 2,180t allocated to Ireland was oversubscribed.

“A total of 73 applications for butter have been received, comprising of 6,666t.

“Meanwhile, up to Thursday, May 14, just one application had been received for beef – totalling at 20t,” the statement outlined.

Up to this date there had been no applications for skimmed milk powder (SMP) or sheepmeat and goatmeat.

‘Disappointing quota’

Conor Mulvihill, director of Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), said: “The fact that the storage is already used up is not surprising.

It shows that there was a significant demand there for what was a very disappointing quota for Ireland.

It is understood that efforts remain ongoing to expand Ireland’s current allocation supports under APS.

The €80 million APS scheme was announced by the European Commission last month to support European farmers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of this €80 million package, €30 million is being used for the storage of dairy products such as butter, cheese and skim milk powder (SMP) – with a total storage capacity of 330,000t.

The fund is comprised of the following APS schemes:
  • Skimmed milk powder: Aid for an estimated volume of 90,000t to be kept in storage either for a full year, or for a minimum of three months to a maximum of seven months. Total budget: €6 million;
  • Butter: Aid for an estimated volume of 140,000t to be stored for a minimum of three months to a maximum of seven months. Total budget: €14 million;
  • Cheese (all): Aid for a maximum of 100,000t to be kept in storage for a minimum of two months to a maximum of seven months. Total budget: €10 million;
  • Beef (steaks): Aid for an estimated volume of 25,000t to be stored for a minimum of three months to a maximum of five months. Total budget: €26 million;
  • Sheep: Aid for a maximum of 36,000t to be kept in storage for a minimum of three months to a maximum of five month. Total budget: €20 million.