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Minister Smith Calls for Introduction of Dairy Market Supports

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, has contacted Commissioner Fischer Boel to express his serious concern about the current weakness in dairy product prices. Minister Smith called on the Commissioner to introduce early supports for the sector in order to restore confidence and put a floor under current market prices. He strongly encouraged the Commissioner to act decisively and introduce appropriate measures at the earliest possible time.

During the Health Check negotiations Minister Smith had made crystal clear his view that the critical market management mechanisms underpinning the sector must be maintained throughout the transition period to the ending of supply controls in 2015, in order to deal with periods of volatility that could arise. "These mechanisms must retain their essential characteristics and should be used when necessary to respond to developments on international markets," according to Minister Smith. The Minister told the Commissioner that now would be an appropriate time to demonstrate responsiveness to difficult market conditions by deploying the market management tools at her disposal.

Despite current difficulties, Minister Smith believes that the medium term prognosis for the international dairy sector is extremely positive. There are significant new opportunities for growth in Irish dairy product sales arising from world population growth and GDP growth in developing counties and in Asia. However, he said that the immediate outlook necessitates that the Commission acts now to restore confidence in the market and in so doing provide a reassuring signal to stakeholders of its willingness to act decisively when there is a perceptible need in the market.

Date Released: 10 November 2007