Milk: End of EU quota heightens farmers’ fears

EU milk quotas have been scrapped after more than three decades of efforts to prevent overproduction.
The system, set up in 1984, is ending so EU dairy businesses can compete with international rivals in supplying fast-growing markets in Asia and Africa.
The Irish Republic, the Netherlands and Germany are all expected to increase production sharply.
But UK farmers have said it could lead to further falls in the price they receive for their milk.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said the ending of quotas was both a challenge and an opportunity for the EU.
“It is a challenge because an entire generation of dairy farmers will have to live under completely new circumstances and volatility will surely accompany them along the road,” he said.
“But it certainly is an opportunity in terms of growth and jobs.”
‘Huge milk pools’
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) urged all countries to “act responsibly and collectively” and said the lifting of quotas could mean fresh price falls for English and Welsh farmers, who have operated within the system for the past 15 years.
NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison said: “With milk prices yet to show any strong signs of recovery, this could push farm gate milk prices down further in the EU and stall any recovery in the dairy markets.
“It’s vital that expansion in any member state is planned in accordance with available market opportunities.”

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