EU Farming Unions Welcome Milk Package

EU - Copa-Cogeca welcomed as a step in the right direction the agreement struck by the EU Commission, MEPs and EU Council yesterday on the future of the EU milk sector, which focuses on strengthening contractual relations between farmers and processors. This will help to improve farmers positioning in the food chain and enable them to get a better return from the market.
calendar icon 7 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Speaking yesterday at a press event in Brussels, Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture said that the dairy package will encourage producers to negotiate contracts on price and quality.

He said that when farmers are organised they can better manage their place on the market, which leads to increased profits.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned that they lost more than 10 billion euros during the last crisis on the milk market, yet profits for the food chain as a whole remained stable.

“The agreement responds to our calls to strengthen farmers positioning in the food chain as they currently only get a fraction of the price”, he added.

Ever since the beginning of the discussions on the future of the milk sector which started two years ago, Copa-Cogeca has asked for a greater concentration of supply, which can be achieved via the development of producer organisations including cooperatives, and for minimal conditions for a contract to be negotiated collectively, in order to strengthen the bargaining power of producers in the food chain.

"We are glad to see the elements of this in the final compromise agreement."

Moreover, Copa-Cogeca believes that cooperatives play a fundamental role in strengthening farmers position in the food chain and their ability to grow in size and scale must not be hampered by EU competition rules. The agreement struck today goes in the right direction.

Henri Brichart, Chairman of Copa-Cogeca’s Milk Working Party insisted that the deal will give farmers and processors more certainty by allowing them to know, in advance, the price to be paid for the raw milk delivered and the quantity to be delivered. But he warned that this dairy package is not sufficient in order to meet all the challenges. The tools to manage the EU markets, such as intervention and private storage, remain the most effective tools to help deal with crises on the EU market. These measures must be more flexible and adapted to farmers’ needs in order to increase their efficiency and protect farmers against extreme market volatility and to guarantee sustainable, competitive dairy production in Europe.

"This is more important than ever in the wake of the financial crisis," Mr Pesonen concluded.

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