Dutch Milk Producers Want Flexible Quotas

THE NETHERLANDS - A recent survey showed that Dutch milk producers want a certain degree of flexibility for their own farm but want it on the basis of market-oriented general conditions under a policy.
calendar icon 26 February 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

According to a newsletter from the European Milk Board (EMB), the Dutch Dairymen Board (DDB), a member of the EMB, commissioned the AgriDirect bv institute to conduct a representative survey among Dutch milk producers.

The DDB wanted to make visible the Dutch milk producers’ opinion on abolishing quotas, setting up a milk fund, abolishing netting and increasing the EU quotas.

The outcome of the survey sends out a clear message: not fewer than 67.7 per cent of the milk producers said that they were in agreement or total agreement with the statement “After 2015 there has to be a flexible European milk quota whereby supply and demand are adjusted to each other”.

Among the large farms (70 cows or more) the figure was 64.4 per cent in favour, with the smaller farms it was even 71.1 per cent.

And the additional quota top-up called for by Minister of Agriculture Verburg, found only relatively little support among the Dutch producers. 59.5 per cent of the milk producers agreed with the statement “The European quota top-up should remain in the national reserve until the market can absorb these volumes”. Only a minority of 31.1 per cent disagreed with this statement.

The result of this representative survey shows that policy in Brussels is made in the interests of a few dairy companies for more milk and a free market, but not in the interest of the milk producers. The majority of Dutch milk producers does not want a free market, they want flexible, demand-oriented control of supply. The DDB and the EMB’s call for flexible market regulation reflects the opinion of the majority of milk producers.

The abolition of netting was given a less positive rating by many farmers: 62.6 per cent of the milk producers disagree with the proposal. What is interesting is that 49.2 per cent of young farmers (under the age of 35) are in favour of abolishing netting. Feeding a milk fund by and for milk producers – pulling products out of the market in the event of oversupply – is controversial: 44.5 per cent of milk producers agree with this demand, 48.4 per cent are against it.

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