The EU Commission has a clear responsibility to look at milk price supports during periods of market weakness which we have at the present time, ICMSA President John Comer has said.

He was speaking after a meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan on the current milk price situation.

Comer also urged the Commissioner to immediately increase the intervention price for butter and skimmed milk powder to a realistic level that will at least cover the cost of milk production. In addition, the strategic use of Aids to Private Storage and export refunds should also be considered, he said.

Discussion during the meeting also centred on the need to stabilise the situation and in the medium- to long-term look at other instruments including a market stability programme to stabilise the market during periods of market weakness, in relation to milk price supports.

“This is not the reintroduction of milk quotas and should not be interpreted as such,” John Comer said.

In relation to superlevy, he said that ICMSA had clearly set out the serious problems facing Irish dairy farmers and again urged the Commissioner to re-examine the butterfat situation and other mechanisms to help farmers. He said he was disappointed with the views expressed by Commission officials on this matter at the meeting.

He also welcomed the Commissioner’s strong commitment to address the issue of multiple retailer power including the use of legislation if necessary and said that he hoped that progress can be made on this matter in 2015.

The ICMSA President also said that ICMSA has also met with Irish MEPs on the dairy and milk situation and asked them to address these matters as a matter of priority in the European Parliament.