EU agri supports sought for sector ‘facing unprecedented circumstances’

Several letters have been sent to the European Commission calling for specific measures to be put in place – and to be financed outside the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget – by European farmers’ association umbrella group Copa-Cogeca.

Pekka Pesonen, secretary general of Copa-Cogeca, outlined the organisation’s disappointment that no decision in support of the agricultural sector had been taken by the EU Special Council on Agriculture on Monday, April 6.

“In these times that are trying for all of us, the agricultural sector is ensuring food security for every EU citizen. At the same time, the sector is currently facing unprecedented circumstances caused by factors beyond agriculture,” the secretary general added.

While we recognise the European Commission’s and member states’ efforts to ensure that the internal market functions smoothly, we reiterate the need for additional targeted market measures for the livestock sector, including exceptional measures, financed outside of the CAP budget.

Commenting on the European dairy sector, the organisation noted that, at present, there is a very negative sentiment on the dairy market, which is weighing prices down at a time of year that represents peak season.

The prices of several dairy products “have dramatically decreased, with skim milk powder (SMP) prices sharply falling to the intervention level”. This is already creating a huge amount of pressure on farm prices, Copa-Cogeca warned.

Thierry Roquefeuil, chair of the Copa-Cogeca Working Party on Milk and Dairy Products, commented on this, stressing:

“We cannot allow the EU dairy market to deteriorate any further. Dairy farmers and their cooperatives cannot bear the consequences of another crisis so soon after the previous crisis – and they cannot be left alone. The European Commission and the member states have the responsibility to act now.

Copa-Cogeca is calling for timely action to trigger the necessary measures and for private storage to be activated for all dairy products. Ensuring private storage for SMP, all types of cheeses, butter, including for frozen storage of buffalo milk and/or buffalo curd, would have a beneficial impact on ensuring year-round food security.

“It is also important to assess the impact that the closure of schools has had on the delivery of milk and dairy products to children in schools and to avoid unnecessary restrictions stemming from competition law in this force majeure situation,” Roquefeuil added.