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End of Milk quotas puts thousands of European dairy farms on the path to extinction

31 March 2015

The European Coordination Via Campesina denounces the end of the milk quota system, which will come into effect on April 1st 2015. This signifies the abandonment of small-scale European milk producers in favour of industry and distributors.

Without quotas, the dairy industry will have the power to choose the dates, the prices, the quality parameters and the collection areas for milk. This threatens the more equitable and resilient model of dairy production based on family farms distributed across rural areas. Without quotas the only farms that will be able to survive are a handful of industrial-scale producers who offer less employment, lower animal welfare, lower environmental sustainability and the widespread use of antibiotics.

Opening the European dairy sector to the international market will create unstable prices which in most cases will be far below production costs and will lead to the bankruptcy of thousands of farms. By dismantling the quota system and failing to implement other mechanisms to guarantee the sustainable production of milk, it is clear that the European institutions have prioritised corporate interests ahead of the welfare and the general interest of the population.

By eliminating the quota system with a dairy package that has already proved its inefficiency, and without any regulation of production and markets, the current legislation does not offer any way to avoid the imposition of prices below the cost of production and will impose conditions of misery on milk producers. Nothing will prevent further abuses in the food chain, already common place among industrial producers and distributors (For example: recent fines for industry abuses in France and Spain).

The European Coordination Via Campesina opposes the end of the quota systems and the economic hardship that thousands of producers will face. We reject the industrialisation of the dairy sector and the disappearance of milk production from many rural areas. Instead we fight for European public policy that guarantees fair prices for farmers through the regulation of production and markets and that leads to the establishment of a milk production model that is economically, socially and ecologically sustainable.