Europe’s dairy industry is not in crisis, according to Joost Korte, the Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s DG Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The milk sector will only be in a crisis situation once processors start offering significant quantities of dairy products for intervention. The current intervention price is equivalent to a producer price of 21.5c/kg of milk,” he said.
Koorte made these comments while attending the recent hearing on the future of the EU dairy sector, hosted by the agriculture committee of the European parliament. He went on to point out that intervention prices can only be changed on the back of a decision taken by the EU’s Council of Agriculture ministers.
“Ministers can only vote on this matter, once the commission has tabled a formal proposal to this end. Intervention is available as a safety net measure,” he said.
“The Commission representative agreed that the current intervention pricing structures bore no resemblance to the input costs incurred by milk producers throughout Europe.
“But that is not the point. Intervention is not intended to be an alternative, mainstream market for dairy products,” he said.
“Nor is it the only support tool that is available to the EU dairy sector. Special measures were introduced to bolster the dairy industry in the Baltic states, which were directly affected by the introduction of the EU ban on food imports by Russia.”
Koorte also pointed out that individual member states can act to support their dairy sectors on a unilateral basis.
“There is provision with the current CAP measures to allow Member States to introduce coupled support measures for dairy and other livestock measures, if this approach is deemed to be required. Up to 15% of Pillar 1 budgets can be reallocated in this manner without the requirement of Brussels’ approval,” he said.