EU must intervene to support dairy sector – Lakeland CEO
The EU must intervene directly to support the dairy sector, according to Lakelands CEO Michael Hanley.
Speaking at the recent Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards, he said that global market conditions are weak and unfortunately this is likely to remain the case for the next nine months due to a continuing oversupply of milk worldwide.
“Prior to the abolition of milk quotas last April, the overall global market trend was already downwards.
“The situation worsened considerably due to the Russian ban on EU dairy imports. That ban was a reaction to EU sanctions on Russia relating to the crisis in Ukraine.
“Unfortunately the EU failed to recognise the impact that these combined market and geo-political issues would have on the dairy sector,” he said.
Hanley also said that Brussels has not acted decisively enough to support the EU dairy industry through the current impasse.
The dairy sector needs to see a package of support measures announced including increased intervention prices, the Lakeland CEO said.
“Over €1 billion has been collected in superlevy fines from farmers across Europe and this should be used to alleviate the current situation without delay,” he said.
Speaking about the recent dairy and agribusiness joint venture announcements by Lakeland Dairies and Fane Valley, Hanley said that they are indicative of an absolute commitment towards efficiency and flexibility across all operations.
“As a co-operative, our mission is to support dairy farmers to the maximum possible. Our initiatives will ensure our ability to compete forcefully on global markets where we export milk in the form of value-added dairy foodservice products and food ingredients.
“We remain confident in the future of dairying for our farmer milk suppliers. Our customers worldwide are looking for more of our value-added dairy products and we will meet that demand long into the future.
“Market conditions will improve in due course and we intend that the beneficiary of any such improvements will be our milk producers,” he said.