Dairy farmers call for immediate EU-wide implementation of crisis instrument

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The EMB said milk-product prices as well as other market indicators have been in a downward spiral for weeks now.
The EMB said milk-product prices as well as other market indicators have been in a downward spiral for weeks now.

Related tags: EMB, European union, Milk, coronavirus, COVID-19

The European Milk Board (EMB) says that as the demand of milk and milk products has significantly dropped because of the coronavirus crisis, produced milk volumes can no longer be absorbed.

Erwin Schöpges, EMB president, said, "The reduced demand must be met with a temporary reduction in supply as well, to get the market out of its very dangerous state of imbalance.

"Dairy farmers are therefore calling on European Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski to activate voluntary production cuts immediately."

Schöpges said milk-product prices as well as other market indicators have been in a downward spiral for some weeks now, and the end is not yet in sight.

Sieta van Keimpema, vice-president of the EMB, added, "Steep drops in prices, pouring away milk – if these developments are not addressed at EU level with coordinated voluntary production cuts, and that too at once, the collapse across Europe will be brutal.

"In the EU, we have the good fortune of a crisis instrument that has already proven to be very effective. Now is the time to activate it.”

The EMB said the European Commission must launch a call for a volume reduction program spanning a few months. Within this program, producers who reduce their milk deliveries as compared to the same period of the previous year would receive a bonus for every kilogram not produced.

The organization argued this would ensure the reduction remains economically viable for producers. During the temporary reduction phase, other farmers should not increase their production, which could be achieved through capping. After all, such increases would counteract the reductions undertaken by other fellow farmers.

"It is clear that unexpected events can occur time and again,"​ Schöpges said.

"Nonetheless, we can take joint, coordinated and constructive action against at least some of these developments as the EU. The imminent milk crisis is one such development that we can get under control with EU-wide action. We producers are fully ready for this and we call on the European Commission to take on this responsibility together with us. Let's use the instrument of voluntary production reduction for joint action and prevent this crisis from getting any worse!"

The EMB wants the EU to adopt its Market Responsibility Programme (MRP), for the EU milk sector to used when there is a risk of a milk market imbalance. A combination of monitoring and response to the market enables impending crises to be recognized and reacted to in a three-phase program.

Related topics: Markets, Fresh Milk, COVID-19

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