Europe urged to ‘act responsibly’ as milk quotas end
As EU milk quotas come to an end this week, all countries have been urged to act responsibly and collectively in order to manage future volatility by UK farmers unions NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison.
Harrison says it’s difficult to predict what will happen once quotas are abolished.
“Farmers and dairy processors here do have some concerns about how other EU countries will react to the ending of quotas.
Some, he said are rapidly increasing their output without an end market for these goods.
With milk prices yet to show any strong signs of recovery, this could push farmgate milk prices down further in the EU, and stall any recovery in the dairy markets, according to Harrison.
“It’s vital that expansion in any Member State is planned in accordance with available market opportunities.”
“Here in the UK, it’s been low and volatile prices that have affected milk production rather than quotas – in fact the UK has been under quota for the past 15 years.
Harrison said everybody knows a number of tough challenges lie ahead especially with prices but the long-term outlook is good, with growing demand and production opportunities.
However, the next government in the UK and the EU must do more to ensure a sustainable future for the dairy sector and help make tools available for farmers to manage volatility.
“We also need UK dairy processors to recognise and promote potential markets both at home and abroad and look to develop new products such as sports drinks,” he said.