Despite current pressures, market analysis predicts that medium term prospects for global dairy markets are good, with growth in world population and wealth expected to stimulate strong levels of demand for dairy products, according to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Responding to a parliamentary question on dairy markets the Minister said that Inevitably there will be fluctuation in the market and more recently we are seeing the combined effect of an increase in global supply and the Russian agri-food products ban.

“The direct effect of the loss of the Russian market is a concern but equally, if not more important, is the issue of the displacement effect for European exports and the need to find alternative markets, with the loss of a market as large as Russia having knock-on effects for all EU producers.”

Minister Coveney outlined the European Commission has promptly introduced APS (Aids to Private Storage) for skimmed milk powder, butter and cheese, and extended the Intervention period for butter and skimmed milk powder to the end of the year.

“My Department is continuing to work closely with the Irish dairy industry to monitor the evolving situation carefully to ensure that those in the sector are well placed to avail of relevant supports if required and their views help to inform the management of the situation at EU level. I also made clear at the Council of Agriculture Ministers that there are a number of tools available at EU level under the new Common Market Regulation, which we must be ready to deploy where appropriate.”

The Minister also outlined that he is acutely aware of the need to develop as many market outlets as possible for Irish dairy products.

“Notwithstanding this successful trade performance, I am working with industry to raise the profile of the Irish dairy sector, and the Irish agri-food sector generally, in emerging markets in the Far East, North Africa, the Gulf States and elsewhere.

“China is an obvious destination for certain dairy products and in particular for dairy based infant formula, my Department is working very closely with the industry to build on our presence there. I have been very active in developing relationships in new and expanding markets in order to build the kind of confidence in Irish production and control systems that provide a platform for long-term trading relationships in the future.”