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Copa-Cogeca Gives Detailed Views on Future of EU Dairy Sector

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Copa-Cogeca Gives Detailed Views on Future of EU Dairy Sector

Copa-Cogeca Gives Detailed Views on Future of EU Dairy Sector
July 07
15:11 2010

At an EU Commission meeting today where the future of the EU dairy sector was discussed, Copa-Cogeca, which represents farmers and their co-operatives in the European Union, called for long-term measures to reduce extreme market volatility and ensure that farmers get a fair return for their produce.

The move came at the EU Commission Advisory Group meeting in which the newly elected presidency of Copa-Cogecas’ Milk Working Party, who are all dairy farmers with a good knowledge of dairy cooperative issues, participated. Reacting to the recommendations made by the High Level Group (HLG) on Milk, Henri Brichart, chairman of the Working Party emphasised the need to maintain existing measures to manage the market, saying EU safety nets play a crucial role in EU dairy policy and must be the baseline for future policy.

“We reminded the EU Commission today that they must continue to exercise caution in managing EU dairy stocks, in order to minimise market disruption and contribute to a more stable market situation. EU buyers need to pay market prices for EU intervention products which contribute to a sustained increase in milk prices for farmers. The current market situation fully justifies further milk prices increases in the coming months, to enable farmers to pay a few of their many outstanding bills,” he said.

Mansel Raymond, vice-chairman of the working party, commented: “The HLG was right to take the issue of contracts seriously. Contracts, which can be voluntary, need to offer greater clarity and transparency on milk prices. Serious attention must also be given to the way milk is priced in the long term as dairy producers have not got a fair return in the past months compared to the price consumers pay for their produce. Immediate and substantial increases in farmgate prices are urgently needed. We consequently call for greater transparency in margins, profits and pricing arrangements throughout the supply chain.”

Tommaso Mario Abrate, vice-chairman of the Working Party, meanwhile stressed: “I must highlight the fact that the HLG confirms the important role of dairy co-operatives. The specific nature of farmers’ co-operatives must be taken into account when it comes to strengthening contractual relations and milk producers bargaining power in the food chain. I believe that the long-term sustainability of EU milk production will be better achieved through farmer-owned co-operatives. They not only directly link milk production to processing and offer high-value added dairy products to consumers, they also strengthen the social fabric in rural areas”. The HLG was first set up to find solutions to the crisis which hit dairy producers last year and Copa-Cogeca urgently calls on the Commission to act on these recommendations.

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