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Irish and EU Co-ops meet EU Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski

In a meeting this afternoon with ICOS and European co-operative organisations, EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski announced that a mini-support package for the agri-food sector is in development, which will include Private Storage Aid schemes for the dairy and beef sectors.

“While the full details of the package are still pending, it is certainly a welcome step forward for the EU to make support available to the sector, following weeks of disruption, falling market prices and rising costs,” said ICOS President Jerry Long, following the meeting.

“The fall in demand for dairy and meat products, as a result of the closure of the food service industry across much of the EU and US, has meant that additional stocks need to be stored, with the costs of that storage increasing dramatically for the past number of months.

“We’re grateful to Minister Creed and the staff of his Department, who have been working tirelessly on this for weeks and who have mobilised support from across the EU for the activation of this aid scheme to contribute to the cost of storage, and we welcome the acknowledgment from the European Commission today of the serious crisis situation that has developed in the dairy and beef sectors. 

“However, knowing the details of the scheme, which are still under discussion, are going to be essential to determine just how meaningful this support will be.”

Speaking to the Commissioner today, ICOS President Jerry Long urged him to use the lessons we have learned from the 2015 dairy crisis, which clearly show that a well financed PSA scheme offers numerous benefits over Intervention which can overhang and depress the market for years. He called on the Commissioner to therefore ensure the provision of a sufficient budget for the scheme, to allow for adequate support rates for storage – reflecting the current costs being paid – and to allow for sufficient volumes of product to be covered under the scheme to help restore balance to the market for the duration of this crisis.

In order for these measures to work well for the Irish dairy sector, ICOS is also now seeking to ensure with the late start of this PSA scheme that it is kept open until at least the end of September, so as much of the current production season can be covered.

“We are also calling for a fair allocation of cheese storage volumes among member states, as well as for the swift delivery of this support package and the rapid opening of these aid schemes which are urgently required,” said Jerry Long.

This ICOS release is an update to the release issued on Monday (20th) “Pressure mounting for EU Action on Market Supports as Co-ops meet Commissioner on Wednesday”