Ireland says French milk supply control proposal is a ‘backward step’

Ireland will not be supporting a French proposal to incentivise farmers to produce less milk at next month’s crunch Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels.

According to a statement from the Department of Agriculture, Ireland’s position is that the decision on the abolition of milk quotas has been taken in the CAP Reform and that introducing new supply controls now would be a ‘backward step’.

It goes on to say that ‘regulating supply’ in times of price downturns is not the ‘appropriate response’ as it does not allow our farmers and businesses to benefit when the market turns in their favour.

Instead, the Department says the EU needs to focus on the ‘market support tools’ available to the Commission which can help to support producers in times of lower prices.

At yesterday’s Council, Ireland outlined possible measures on the current market difficulties in the dairy and pigmeat sectors, including:

  1. seeking greater flexibility in the enhanced PSA scheme for SMP through:
    • significantly reducing the minimum number of days (270) required for storage, and
    • Complete removal of the 10% penalty for product withdrawn from storage before 365 days.
  2. Allowing MS, including Ireland, who wish to make further use of the un-used quotas under cheese PSA scheme to be facilitated to the greatest extent possible;
  3. Calling on the Commission to review its decision to terminate the PSA scheme for pigmeat;
  4. Requesting that the reference thresholds for intervention be kept under review;
  5. Asking the Commission to increase its political, technical and diplomatic efforts to unlock the Russian market for EU pigmeat, including pig fats and offalsIreland also expressed a willingness to consider ideas put forward by other Member States, including several of the proposals made by France and Spain.

France is to seek measures to curb milk supplies in Europe, according to reports this morning.

The French Government has submitted proposals ahead of a meeting of European Union Agriculture Ministers later this month.

Recent weeks have seen extensive protests by farmers across France over falling incomes due to ongoing weakness in agricultural markets particularly dairy and pigmeat.

The French proposals also include an increase in the floor price at which producers can sell into public storage and an export credit facility.

According to the European Commission’s Milk Market Observatory, EU milk collection increased by 5.5% in November 2015 compared to the same month last year.

Total milk deliveries in the first 11 months of 2015 have been 2.2% higher than in the same period in 2014. In the 11 months, SMP production rose by 8.6% while butter production was up 4.3% and SMP production was down 4.7%.

The EMMO reports that EU average farm gate milk price for November 2015 was 30.8 c/kg, which is 11% lower than in November 2014 and 13% lower than the average of the last 5 years.