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Milk: hearing of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament

21 July 2009

Statement of the European coordination Via Campesina at the hearing of the EP COMAGRI on July 21st

Statement of the European Coordination Via Campesina at the hearing of the EP COMAGRI on July 21st The European dairy crisis will lead to a social and rural disaster if the European Union does not take urgently the necessary measures for managing supply and market, raising farm milk prices, and better distribute the production. The report the European commission just presented can be regarded as a provocation by the million dairy farmers who sell their milk since months at prices below the production costs. To remain within the framework of the Health Check does not solve anything of the crisis, but will worsen it. To fund the abandonment of the production, as the Commission and the Italian Minister propose is not only a social mistake, because small and middle dairy farms are the chore of rural development in many regions. It is then an economic mistake, because in fact the largest dairy farms are not the most competitive, and number of them are in difficulty. It is finally a mistake for environment and climate because the dairy production in the industrialized farms consumes much imported soya and produces more methane. Here the measures we propose for a way out of the crisis: they have to be taken simultaneously. 1) To reduce production now. To maintain the maximum number of producers, who are mostly small and middle-sized producers, it will be necessary to differentiate the reduction in production. Small producers should not undergo production decreases. 2) To maintain public supply management of production. Producers must mobilize to force the EU to reconsider the decision taken in 2003 to abandon quotas in 2015. The quotas should be improved and become not marketable; 3) To ensure a sufficient income for all dairy farmers: this is impossible without supply management, better distribution of the quota and a minimum and remunerative purchase price from the milk industry. 4) To remove export refunds, the most visible form of dumping towards third countries. To question the obligation to import dairy products and the WTO agricultural agreement of 1994. It is necessary to exchange a duty (to stop the dumping) for a right (to be able to protect from imports at low prices). 5) To encourage a dairy production more autonomous, saving inputs, less dependent on imported soya, and to support dairy production based on local fodder and permanent pastures (it will be good for climate and biodiversity). 6) From the point of view of 2013, it is necessary to develop a new dairy policy in a CAP where the WTO framework is replaced by that of food sovereignty, essential to respond to the challenges of the current systemic crisis.

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