The debate launched during the conference “The EU dairy sector: evolution beyond 2015” confirms that the European Union must anticipate preventing future crises, and the current tools do not allow it, we need public regulation instruments of production and markets!
End of milk quotas: efficient tools to be found
The experts’ report commissioned by the European Commission on the result of the end of milk quotas after 2015 is formal: the implementation of the milk package, confirmed by the settlement of the CAP from 2014 to 2020, will have a major impact on the dairy sector in Europe. Milk production will be concentrated in a few areas near the European North Atlantic while many farms will disappear especially in mountain or peripheral regions, where they constitute the only possible production and basis of the local economy. The maps show a growth of production in some European countries, led by exports, while production fell in the majority of European states.
Consequently, production will increase in the already productive areas, causing the accumulation of waste, problems of water and land pollution. The growth will bring big units a strong increase in debt and increased fragility in the face of price volatility.
In this context, the situation can be dramatic for farmers as for entire regions if we do not put in place appropriate measures.
The European Commission opened the conference by setting out their position. They acquiesce when faced with the disappearance of thousands of farms. One third of dairy farms disappeared between 2007 and 2010!
The European Coordination Via Campesina supports the creation of an observatory of volumes, milk prices and production costs announced by the Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş.
We must now consider how to act with public instruments to regulate the production and markets before situations become catastrophic. Action is needed to ensure the stability of prices that cover production costs and allow the maintenance of milk production distributed on the entire European territory. ECVC support the idea of mechanisms to reduce milk production, expressed by several speakers, and asks specific support for mountain areas, so that the milk collection is guaranteed in these regions.
In this regard, the milk package tools are totally inadequate as many participants stated.
The Organization of producers, also absent in many countries are often unable to win against the downstream companies and retailers in a dominant position.
Direct payments will not ensure the maintenance of milk production in a scenario of low and volatile prices, and instead encourage the conversion to crops, which require less work.
Creating futures market for milk is even worse when financial operators increase market volatility.
ECVC also opposes direct export subsidies (refunds), which impede the possibility of organizing production in third countries and destroy the peasantry.
So tools need to be defined to provide a future for dairy producers and drive production towards sustainable models.
Contact: Isabel Vilalba (ES – EN) Tel 0034608905444