UFU meet with Dairy UK to discuss market situation

Tuesday, 9 September, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union have met with representatives from Dairy UK Northern Ireland to discuss the impact of falling EU dairy commodity prices as a result of Russia’s ban on EU food products and the potential impact of a number of measures which could be actioned by the European Commission to help stabilise EU dairy markets.

UFU Dairy Chairman Jonathan Moore said; “Dairy prices have been and are currently experiencing significant downward pressure which has come about by an unprecedented combination of factors in the market, most notably the Russian embargo of EU dairy products.  Although, the European Commission’s announcement to introduce measures, including Private Storage Aid (PSA) for butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and certain cheeses, may have some limited positive effect, we feel that additional measures are needed to support farmers and achieve some rebalancing of the market.”

Director of Dairy UK NI Dr. Mike Johnston said; “Both the UFU and ourselves feel that at a European level more needs to be done for the dairy sector. The European Commission must utilise the basket of the market instruments available to them as quickly as possible and should the Russian embargo not be resolved soon, call for the introduction of Export Refunds to steady the situation.  Our message to the Commission is that failure to adjust Intervention prices to reflect increasing costs of production needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, so that it can complement the market stabilising effects of Export Refunds.  It is important that the Commission acts quickly to implement these additional measures.

Jonathan Moore concluded; “The Russian ban has come at a time when dairy farmers are already facing a difficult situation with local dairy markets already experiencing volatility. Furthermore, as part of the EU Dairy Package, a Milk Market Observatory was set up to act as an early warning system, alerting dairy stakeholders to any major shock in milk prices (as seen in 2008/09).  We need to see the MMO step up to the mark as the dairy sector faces such uncertainty, and so that farmers and processors alike have access to up to date information on market prices and trends.”