Ireland is not in the business of producing milk for intervention, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

Defending the increase in Irish milk production since quotas were abolished in 2015, the Minister said that nearly 80% of Irish milk has been brought to the market.

“It [Irish milk production] has not been excessively oriented towards the intervention instruments that are available.

That it’s sharp contrast with a lot of other Member States whose increased production has been skewed almost in reverse order with the over whelming majority going to the intervention instruments.

Speaking at the SIAL food fair in Paris earlier this week, Minister Creed said that a focus on market requirements has allowed Irish producers to increase production without targeting the intervention market.

“It’s not just the market within the European Union, it’s the global market place.

“And we have increased our production significantly, but as a total market share within the European Union we account for 4%.

Ireland accounts for 1% of the global market but we are focused on moving up the value added chain and getting our products onto supermarket shelves,” he said.

Quotas place a handbrake on Irish milk production

Minister Creed also said that quota held milk production back on Irish farms since its introduction in 1984.

What you are really witnessing is evidence that for over 30 years when we had quotas there was an unfair handbrake on our natural advantage to produce milk.

“We have the lowest carbon footprint per unit of milk in comparison to any other nation on the planet.

“And this is proof of our commitment to the sustainability to Origin Green and that is a natural advantage,” he said.

The Minister also added that volatility is not just a feature of dairy markets in the post-quota era.

“If you cast your minds back to 2009 prices dipped to a lower level than they have now.

We have ambitious targets for our dairy industry and we are in many respects proving that those targets are realistic and obtainable even in the teeth of a very difficult year in 2015.

“In 2015, the first year post quota, we increased our production by 13% and though this year is quite difficult we will significantly increase our output,” he said.