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Smith Welcomes The Introduction Of Private Storage Aid For Butter

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today welcomed the decision taken in Brussels to introduce private storage aid for butter two months earlier than usual. The scheme will take effect from 1st January 2009 instead of its usual start date of 1st March and butter manufactured in December will be eligible for storage.

Minister Smith contacted EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mariann Fischer Boel last week to express his serious concern about the current weakness in dairy product prices. The Minister called on the Commissioner to introduce early supports for the sector in order to restore confidence and put a floor under current market prices. "I am very pleased that the Commissioner has taken such a decisive step in responding to genuine concerns about the current state of the market". The decision is appropriate and timely and will help to stabilise the dairy market. He would continue to closely monitor market developments and would not hesitate to intervene with the Commissioner should further market measures be needed.

The importance of keeping critical market instruments and using them effectively to respond to price volatility in the period of transition to quota abolition is a key priority in the Health Check. "I have been consistent in calling for the maintenance of these mechanisms in their current form and I will continue to press for the best possible outcome at next week's Council of Ministers meeting where the Health Check negotiations are scheduled to conclude". The Minister expressed his confidence that despite current difficulties, the medium term prognosis for the international dairy sector remains positive.

Date Released: 13 November 2007