A tender procedure to release the first amounts (22,500t) of skimmed milk powder (SMP) out of public intervention stocks will open tomorrow, Friday November 25, the European Commission has confirmed.

The move comes following a vote by Member States today on the Commission’s proposal to release some of the stocks.

The move reflects the encouraging signs of recovery being seen on the European milk market, with an increase of about 10% of the average price paid to producers in the last three months, according to the Commission.

Following a steady slow down, figures from the EU Milk Market Observatory (MMO) show that no more quantities of SMP have been put into public intervention since September 2016, even though this market measure remains open.

In order to test the market reaction, the Commission has limited the quantity of product concerned by the tender procedure.

This 22,500t of powder corresponds to just 6% of the total amount of 355,000t of SMP stored and taken off the markets since the opening of the measure in September 2014.

Under this tender procedure, European operators will have until December 13 to submit their bids to national authorities.

Commenting on today’s vote and decision, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said that he is pleased to say that we are seeing something of a recovery in those hardest-hit markets, though we all know how fragile recovery can be in agricultural markets.

“Sustaining this recovery and working towards balance in the dairy market remains a priority.

“Reflecting the fragile nature of the recovery, the Commission will act with appropriate caution and the tender process will be under constant reassessment to prevent any unnecessary disruption.”

All the support measures put in place by the Commission to help dairy producers, like private storage and public intervention, remain in place, the Commission confirmed.