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Smith Welcomes Increased Export Refunds for Dairy Products

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, has welcomed the decisions taken at this morning's Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets in Brussels. The Committee decided to increase export refunds for butter, skimmed milk powder and whole milk powder and to accept into intervention all quantities of butter and skimmed milk powder offered, while maintaining the intervention purchase prices.

In effect, the result means that a further 2,310 tonnes of butter (645 tonnes Irish) and 22,688 tonnes of SMP (4,651 tonnes Irish) were purchased into intervention bringing the totals since the commencement of these schemes to 79,625 tonnes (14,917 tonnes Irish) and 183,922 tonnes respectively (22,766 tonnes Irish). In addition, some 88,489 tonnes of butter has been aided under the Private Storage Scheme of which Irish butter accounts for almost 4,000 tonnes.

As regards export refunds the tender refund for butter was increased considerably, from €600 to €700 per tonne allowing for the export of an additional 1,644 tonnes. The SMP tender refund was also increased, from €220 to €240 per tonne allowing the export of 1,793 tonnes. Common refund rates for butter, SMP and WMP were increased commensurately while refunds for cheeses were maintained at €220 per tonne.

In welcoming these developments Minister Smith said that the Commissioner had responded yet again to the demands he had made at last week's Council of Ministers meeting. During the course of that debate the Minister urged the Commissioner to more aggressively intervene to take product permanently off the market through supporting exports, and also to maintain intervention prices at attractive levels enabling the maximum quantities to be temporarily removed from the market giving the commercial markets breathing space to rebound.

Minister Smith said: "I am pleased that the market management mechanisms are now being further expanded to deal with the very difficult dairy market situation that we are currently facing. I will continue as I have done for the past six months to maintain the strongest political pressure to ensure that the Community plays its full part in helping to restore the dairy sector to a sound trading position".

Date Released: 04 June 2009