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Smith welcomes agreement to extend Intervention Schemes

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD welcomed the agreement by the Council of Agriculture Ministers today in Brussels to extend the public intervention schemes for butter and skimmed milk powder.  The Council agreed to allow the Commission to use emergency powers to extend the storage period beyond the end of August.

Minister Smith said that the effect of this decision is that public intervention will run continuously until August 2010.  Beyond that, if the market situation warrants it, public intervention may remain open until August 2011.  Commenting after the meeting, the Minister said; "this action complements the decision taken last week to extend the butter private storage scheme until 28 February 2010, and provides further assistance in managing the dairy market.  Given the current state of the markets and the serious difficulties facing the dairy sector, it is essential that all available measures are mobilised and operated to best effect".

At the Council meeting, Minister Smith also called for an increase in export refunds for cheese, butter and skimmed milk powder.  He again pressed for the removal of impediments to support the export outside the Community of cheese products; "In parallel with an increased level of refund, we also need to secure the suspension of the free-at-frontier price so that cheese refunds would actually benefit exporters.  The export of quality cheeses from the EU would act as a stimulus to the market and generate much needed demand".

Date Released: 13 July 2009