Italy Milks Additional Quotas

ITALY - Italian Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia has obtained an additional 620,000 tons in milk production from the EU Agriculture Council of Ministers, which will result in increased production revenues and minimal overproduction fines.
calendar icon 6 February 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Italy has managed to secure the entire 5-percent increase in its milk production effective April 2009, while the same increase will be introduced over a 5-year period for all other Member States, reports the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

The increased quota will allow Italian producers to absorb the productive surplus, minimize future levies, and increase milk production worth 240 million Euros annually.

Italian Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia has been able to do what many Ministers before him have not – finally obtain an increase in Italy’s milk quotas from the EU Agriculture Council of Ministers.

It has taken Italy 25 years, but thanks to Zaia’s tough negotiation with EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, Italian dairy farmers will now have an additional 620,000 tons of milk production, which mean increased revenues and lower overproduction fines. (The agreement also states a modification of the method to calculate the fat content in the quota.)

On 30 January 2009 Minister Zaia presented a special decree to the Italian Council of Ministers, which made the EU decision to increase Italy’s milk production official and outlined the Ministry of Agriculture’s distribution of the increased quotas.

Historically, Italy has exceeded its assigned milk quotas due to the fact that the quotas were assigned in 1983 based on official production figures, which farmers significantly underreported.

Industry sources indicate that the milk quotas did very little to stop this “black milk” economy until the issue was finally re-examined and a quasi-amnesty was agreed upon with minor revisions in the 1999 and 2003 reforms. Italy, however, still overproduces five to six percent more than its assigned quota, which has led to heavy EU fines.

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