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Quota trade strongest to date on third exchange

- COUGHLAN ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF THIRD MILK QUOTA TRADING SCHEME -

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced the aggregate results of the third Milk Quota Trading Scheme. Welcoming the highest proportion of quota sold to date, the Minister said: "I am delighted that the third Trading Scheme has continued the trend established by the first two. Sixty and seventy per cent, respectively, of all quota offered for sale on the first two exchanges was sold, and today the volume traded has exceeded 80 per cent".

Commenting further on the results, Minister Coughlan confirmed that a total of 80 million litres of milk quota was offered for sale, with 66 million litres successfully traded. Of this total, 49 million litres was sold on the exchange at prices ranging from 12 to 45 cent per litre, and 17 million litres was sold through the priority pool at the maximum price of 12 cent per litre.

The Minister made particular reference to the importance of the recent changes to the Scheme: "I am particularly pleased that the improvements made in recent months have borne fruit, with many more sellers successfully disposing of their quotas after opting to accept one or two cent per litre less than their original offer prices in order to match the Market Clearing Price. This has been especially beneficial to producers in the northern half of the country. I am also pleased to note that quota is now being acquired by Category 1 producers in Co-op areas where access had previously proved difficult."

Minister Coughlan also took the opportunity to express her satisfaction with the operation of the Milk Quota Trading Scheme and to look to forthcoming challenges. "I think it has been clearly demonstrated that the Trading Scheme has been a very effective tool in the allocation of quota to active and committed dairy farmers, and will continue to be so in the future. We must now look to new challenges, and 2008 will not prove wanting in this regard. While much attention will focus on price and market trends, I look forward to dealing with the challenge presented by the Commission's proposals on the Health Check and the proposed quota expansion from 1 April 2008 and to working with the sectors to achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland."

The Minister concluded by thanking the Co-ops once again for their cooperation in the implementation of the Trading Scheme. Full results for their respective areas will be sent to the Co-ops in the next few days. Details of the next exchange will be announced early in the New Year.

14 December, 2007

NOTE FOR EDITORS

Aggregate results of third Milk Quota Trading Scheme are attached.

Date Released: 14 December 2007