Farmers’ intervention hopes live on

Raising the price for public intervention is not appropriate, agriculture ministers were told last Monday by European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, standing in at the Extraordinary Agriculture and Fisheries Council for Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, absent due to illness.

Last Saturday, a European Commission spokesman said Commissioner Phil Hogan was in hospital with a stomach viral infection.

Mr Katainen said, “At a time when there is a clear market imbalance, increasing the price paid for public intervention will do nothing to restore market balance but would instead create an artificial outlet for EU dairy products. It would weigh on the EU competitiveness for the 10% of EU milk production that need to be exported,” .

“I am also concerned that the very existence of EU public stocks would simply push market prices down further, thus deepening and prolonging the current difficult situation. It would also remove the incentive for a cautious approach on the supply side in times of market turbulences.”

However, according to Copa-Cogeca, representing EU farmer and co-op organisations, EU agriculture ministers have agreed to look at increasing the EU milk intervention price to help put a floor in the market. A minority of around 10 member states is expected topropose an intervention price increase next week.

“This is crucial to reflect rising production costs and stop putting downward pressure on the dairy market,” said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen.

He said he was disappointed that export credit insurance for the EU beef, pork and milk markets was not proposed, “The package includes very few measures to help manage the market or deal with the increasing volatility and short term problems.”


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