At the last tender sale, 162t of skimmed milk powder (SMP) – the final remnants of public stocks – were sold, the European Commission has announced today, Friday, June 21.

Following the dairy market crisis that hit EU producers with lower prices in 2015-2016, the commission bought from 2015 to 2017 a total of 380,000t of 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 were opened by the commission to “carefully sell the products back into the market without disrupting it”, the European authority said in a statement.

Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Today’s sale of the last remaining public stocks of SMP closes a chapter.

“The disposal of the stock, without impacting on the price of SMP, is a vindication of the commission’s patience and prudent management of the whole process since 2015,” he claimed.

“The results of the commission’s actions are higher prices and a stable market.”

Highlighting the “necessity and the efficiency of the Common Agricultural Policy’s instruments”, the commissioner added:

“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 26c/kg in summer 2016 to 34c/kg in May 2019, according to the commission.

Stating that all details of tendering were fully documented online in the Milk Market Observatory, the Brussels authority noted that, with today’s sale of 162t, all 14 member states that were storing SMP on behalf of the commission have managed to empty their stock.