Thursday, 23 April 2020
By Kat Jack
The EU have proposed a new package of measures to support the agri-food sector as markets are hit by the effects of the coronavirus. For dairy, this primarily means the opening of private storage aid (PSA) for skimmed milk powder, butter, and cheese*. This aid supports part of the storage costs while the products are temporarily withdrawn from the market. The allocation for how much UK product would be eligible for this is yet to be announced, though some reports suggest that for cheese it would be around 4.5 thousand tonnes.
Other measures announced include an exceptional derogation from EU competition rules for the milk sector, as well as flowers and potatoes. This means the milk sector will be allowed to collectively take measures to stabilise the market, for example, collectively planning milk production. They are also allowing flexibility in the EU school milk, fruits and vegetables scheme to allow reprioritisation of funding towards crisis management measures.
The Commission aims to have these measures adopted by the end of April, at which point full details of the proposals will be revealed. Before that, they could be subject to change, as member states need to discuss and vote on the proposals.
*Usually this is limited to PDO/PGI cheeses, but this time will be open to all cheeses that are suitable for storage.
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