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Dairy sector in crisis: are peasants mere collateral damage?

30 July 2015

Following yesterday’s meeting, the European Milk Market Observatory was forced to acknowledge that prices are unquestionably dropping.

Ever since the introduction of this instrument, which was supposed to monitor the allocation of milk quotas, it can be observed, meeting after meeting, that the so-called sector-saving markets are nowhere to be seen.

Moreover, it has finally been acknowledged that the price of milk is too low for peasants. The outlook for the near future (late 2015 – early 2016) is bleak.

Even in the face of this, the Commission has shown no intention of questioning what is for some a clear example of a policy that works: prices fall when volumes are high and they rise when volumes are low.

And where are the peasants in all this?

This question is not even being asked right now, given that the Commission refuses to define when it must be acknowledged that we are “in crisis”.

The promise of the Irish miracle is fading away as dairy farmers are still paid less than in other parts of the world and so they are calling for EU intervention.

We will not emerge from this crisis without challenging the free-market dogma of “self-regulation”, a regulation which implies “getting rid of the peasants”

The Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on land grabbing and the threat to farming was published on 23 July 2015. This time is final; the policy adopted will lead us to territorial, social, economic and environmental deadlock.

Therefore, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, to meet on 7 September, must put European agriculture at the centre of its policy and wholeheartedly seek to achieve solidarity among European farmers, market regulation, allocation of production quotas, a margin protection system for farmers as a crisis prevention mechanism, social conditionality of CAP subsidies, and abandoning negotiations to sign free-trade agreements.