Irish dairy sector seeks private storage aid option from EU

Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) has put in a request to the European Commission to open up its Private Storage Aid (PSA) option for Irish dairy products.

Submitting a request in writing to the commission yesterday, Tuesday, March 17, DII has sought the opening of PSA with the collaboration of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the European Dairy Association (EDA).

Speaking to AgriLand, DII director Conor Mulvihill outlined the need for the Irish dairy sector to be proactive in its approach and to establish “what practical solutions can be brought to bear as this develops”.

“Private storage aid is a tool under the Common Market Organisation regulation CMO that allows companies to store specific dairy products for a period of time, subsidised by the European Commission.”

DII is submitting the request for two reasons: to help the dairy sector deal with the impact of the coronavirus around Europe; and also to assist as peak milk production time approaches over the coming months.

“It’s very logical and in everyone’s interest that an option for private storage aid is available for Irish dairy companies,” Mulvihill added.

Currently, legislation provides for butter and skim milk powder (SMP); geographical indicator (GI) cheeses were also included previously.

Commenting, the director said: “We’d like that opened but we’d also like – because of this crisis – a special allowance for the likes of commodity cheeses and, in Ireland’s case, cheddar. That’s something to be worked on.”

Mulvihill also stressed the difference between PSA and intervention.

Intervention is where the EU pays and is the buyer of last resort. This is companies storing the products themselves. That’s important as a distinction.

“This is a different tool and is very cost-effective,” Mulvihill concluded.