Strong opposition to milk production cut in Ireland

The option of a proposed voluntary cut in milk production by farmers in EU member states, to help reverse the plunge in prices, is being strongly opposed in Ireland.

Strong opposition to milk production cut in Ireland

It was part of a package of measures introduced at a Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels last week by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

The move followed a significant increase in milk production in a number of member states following the abolition of quotas a year ago.

When taken with global changes in milk supply and demand, this has created a severe market imbalance.

The Council of Ministers’ common view was that a return to quotas or any other instrument of mandatory supply control was not on the agenda.

“This is a wise approach,” Mr Hogan said.

However, some member states have requested access to the possibility to enable voluntary agreements of producer organisations, inter-branch organisations and co-operatives in relation to production and supply management.

“I am prepared to propose the application of such rules, whereby the commission, in a situation of severe imbalance in the market, would decide to permit on a temporary basis such voluntary agreements for the dairy sector,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the overall package reflected the majority of the demands presented by Ireland to the commission, but he was totally opposed to supply controls.

He said he had reiterated Ireland’s view that constraining production would amount to a free gift to our global competitors and would slow recovery in the EU when markets improved.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil this week he had also voiced opposition to the allocation of any new EU funding to incentivise such reductions.

He said the measures are voluntary and limited and that any actions taken by producer organisations and other first purchasers of milk are of a temporary nature.

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