Action Must Be Taken To Prevent New Dairy Crisis

EU - Copa-Cogeca has urged Euro-MPs to take action to prevent a new EU dairy crisis from emerging, warning the EU market is still fragile and the market price does not always cover farmers’ production cost.
calendar icon 15 July 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Speaking to European Parliament Agriculture Committee, Copa President Padraig Walshe said: “Producers suffered enormously during the deep EU-wide dairy crisis at the end of 2008, losing close to 10 billion euros in turnover in 2009. The EU market is still delicate and it is dependent on world market demand which could change at any moment.

"A strong EU policy solution is consequently needed to prevent another crisis from ocurring. I welcome MEPs initiative to debate today recommendations made by the High Level Group on milk on long-term measures for the dairy sector. Some of the recommendations are in line with our views and we ask MEPs to work closely with the EU Commission to transform these into reality. In particular, tools to manage the market – safety net tools - must be maintained, to deal with increasing market volatility”.

Mr Walshe continued: “In view of farmers deteriorating share of the retail price which has dropped from 31 per cent to 23 per cent over 10 years, Copa-Cogeca supports the recommendation designed to strengthen farmers bargaining power in the food chain by allowing them to concentrate supply through cooperatives in particular. Formalised milk delivery contracts, which can be voluntary, would also offer a certain degree of stability and predictability and we support the HLG recommendations on this.

"Furthermore, EU competition rules must be adjusted, to enable cooperatives and other producer organisations to grow and collectively negotiate, giving them a better position in the food chain”.

Supporting his views, Tommaso Mario Abrate, Vice-Chairman of Copa-Cogecas’ milk working party said: “The long-term sustainability of EU milk production will be better achieved through farmer-owned cooperatives. We are convinced that the HLG recommendations, which recognise the specific role of cooperatives, are a good basis for further actions and urge the EU Commission and MEPs to make progress and formulate legislative proposals this year”.

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