Dairy farmers must take their responsibility for the continuing increase in production which, given current market conditions, is simply not sustainable, European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

He was speaking in the European Parliment this morning and said that while this is not a crisis exclusively of the EU’s making nor are its effects confined to Europe.

“The situation in the dairy sector in virtually every Member State is acute. The most recent price information available from the Milk Market Observatory shows that the average milk price in the EU in April was 27.62 c/kg, which represents a fall of 11.5% since the same time last year.

“The situation is, of course, not one confined to Europe with global demand continuing to outpace demand which is putting pressure on dairy product prices not alone in the EU, but also on the world market,” he said.

Hogan told MEPs that he acknowledges the depth of the crisis however, he warned that the Commission has now ‘effectively deployed’ all of the tools available in the CAP toolkit.

“Despite the deployment of a range of available measures, I must emphasise that I can work only within the constraints of the legislation available, specifically in terms of the exceptional measures available,” he said.

At the hearing on the dairy crisis, Commissioner Hogan came under pressure from a number of MEPS to reintroduce milk quotas or make a new scheme which incentivises dairy farmers to reduce production mandatory.

Commissioner Hogan said the new measure can play a significant role, given that it covers close to 85% of the EU milk production.

“The measure encourages action towards greater market balance in the dairy sector, with producer organisations, interbranch organisations and cooperatives allowed to jointly plan milk production until the middle of October.

“This initial period can be extended by a further six months to the middle of April 2017,” he said.

Commissioner Hogan stressed that this is a voluntary instrument and said its use depends ultimately on producers.

“It is now genuinely in the hands of dairy farmers who may, if they so wish, join forces and collectively decide to reduce production,” he said.