As of today September 23, the Private Storage Aid (PSA) scheme for cheese has ended.

The measure which was created in response to the Russian sanctions imposed at the start of August, the EU Commission opened PSA to provide storage for displaced butter and SMP, with the extension of the scheme to cover certain cheeses.

Despite only coming into effect on September 5, the Commission’s decision to close the scheme for cheese was due to it being ‘disproportionally used by producers in cheese from areas traditionally not exporting significant quantities to Russia’.

The Commission stated that the scheme therefore does not seem adequate to react effectively and efficiently against the market disturbances that result from the Russian ban.

ICOS is currently investigating the background to the Commission decision. As far as can be ascertained dairy processers in Ireland have not made that much use of the aids to private storage (APS) option.

A spokesman for the organisation in Brussels said: “We believe that dairies in the Netherlands and Germany have made ample use of the APS measure over recent weeks. However, the decision to end the current measure is not in the spirit of Commissioner Ciolos decision to act decisively on behalf of the EU dairy sector.”

ICOS had welcomed the decision to introduce aids to private storage. from an ICOS perspective the main ‘wins’ had been the inclusion of Cheddar in PSA, and the fact that PSA products can be stored in any country, not just in the member state where it was produced. Significantly, this gave Irish processers the ability to store cheddar in the UK where the companies have and need stocks.

EU dairy exports to Russia in 2013 were worth €2.3 billion, with €1.0 billion from cheese. PSA will remain open for butter and SMP.