MEPs Request Help For Struggling Dairy Industry

EU - Helping dairy farmers now, as well as restructuring the dairy sector in the long run, is the way out of the current milk market crisis, Agriculture Committee MEPs told Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel in a debate on Tuesday.
calendar icon 2 September 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The Committee is to vote today (2 September) regarding a Commission proposal to help dairy farmers by extending the intervention periods for butter and skimmed milk powder.

Current "prices do not allow profit" and the "trade has massively reduced", said Albert Dess (EPP, DE), calling on the Commission to support the restructuring of the sector.

It is time for "pragmatic response" to the dairy sector crisis, urged Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D, ES), adding that the EU needs to "stabilise the market so as to provide reasonable income for farmers and fair prices for consumers."

Market is returning to balance, says Commissioner

"The market is coming back into balance and dairy prices have stabilised," although "not to an acceptable level", said Commissioner Fischer Boel, stressing "it should be clear that we're being very pro-active about bringing the market crisis under control."

No to keeping the quota system after 2015

"We have a problem of quotas: we need to adjust supply to demand," so as to avoid "losing jobs every day, particularly in the disadvantaged areas," urged Martin Hausling (Greens/EFA, DE).

The strategy to help the dairy sectors and farmers out of the current crisis needs to take into account long term objectives, stressed the Commissioner, who criticised the idea of propping up the milk quota system as a way to guarantee the sector's future. Keeping the quota system, which is to be abolished in 2015, "would hold back efficiency, raise production costs and make it harder for young farmers to enter the sector. It is not the right recipe for the long term!" she said.

James Nicholson (ECR, UK), agreed with the Commissioner's concern to ensure a long-term solution, but also stressed that "we need to deal with short term problems too, otherwise many farmers risk going out of business."

Dairy fund just a 'castle in the air'

Marit Paulsen (ALDE, SE) echoed the need to take a broader view of how to resolve the crisis in the dairy sector. "We need more than direct payments" to ensure long term stability, she said.

The EU should take responsibility for the crisis and help farmers, who are experiencing ever more difficulties in selling their products, added Alfrēds Rubiks (GUE/NGL, LT).

CAP reform

The exchange of views also covered the reform of the Common Agriculture policy (CAP), foreseen for 2013. Committee Chair Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), said: "this legislative term will tell whether there will be or not a CAP after 2013." We need to "make people understand the importance of the CAP, not only for European farmers, but for all citizens," he concluded.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.