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Nicholson: short term dairy packages are not enough

18 July 2016

Nicholson: short term dairy packages are not enough

Another aid package is, at best, putting off the inevitable for many dairy farmers according to Northern Ireland MEP Jim Nicholson.

Another aid package is, at best, putting off the inevitable for many dairy farmers according to Northern Ireland MEP Jim Nicholson.

The European Parliament’s ‘rapporteur’ (lead MEP) on the EU dairy package said that whilst the measures announced by the European Commission today are welcome, they are likely to make little difference to many producers who are close to bankruptcy.

The commission has proposed 150 million Euros to support a voluntary reduction of EU milk deliveries, as well as an extra 350 million Euros for measures at the national level. The commission will also extend aid for storage schemes until next February and has announced that 70% of the direct payments to farmers could be advanced which could alleviate short term cash flow problems.

The dairy industry has suffered from global supply outstripping demand, as well as the Russian embargo.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said:

“The European Commission is trying to solve a long term problem with a short term intervention. The first aid package did little to help dairy farmers on the brink of bankruptcy so they will understandably have little faith that the second package will make much difference either.

“Market volatility is here to stay and we need new tools to deal with it. There must be a mid-term review of the CAP that will act as an opportunity to put in place long term measures to tackle volatility, with a responsive safety net that accurately reflects the cost of production. This needs to be the last stopgap measure before we finally tackle the root causes of the dairy crisis and the volatility that risks sending many farmers out of business altogether.”

In his report for the European Parliament last summer, Mr Nicholson called for:

– a stronger role for the Milk Market Observatory with data received and published in a timely manner

– a more responsive and realistic safety net which is reflective of the cost of production

– increased research and innovation in the dairy sector and in the products brought to market

– exploration of the potential and options available to the sector through newer contract models and insurance tools

– identification and development of new markets to increase the EU global market share and secure fair access for EU dairy producers

– a reduced administrative burden related to the quality schemes such as PDO, PGI and TSG

– funds gathered from super levy fees to be reinvested in the dairy sector

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