There are no clear signs of short-term recovery in dairy markets, the European Commission’s farm commissioner Phil Hogan told a meeting of the Bulgarian parliament’s agriculture and food committee in Sofia yesterday.
He made the comments amid growing concerns by dairy farmers in Ireland that they can not afford to take any further milk price cuts.
Mr Hogan said the milk sector is suffering from worldwide oversupply and slowdown in demand, after the “record high” prices of 2013-2014. However, in 2014, the EU produced 4.5% more milk than the previous year while other main world suppliers increased their output in the area of 2%.
“In 2015, and in spite of the limited reduction in deliveries during the first quarter, we are already on par with last year.
“And projections indicate that, in spite of moderate prices, we will end the year with an overall increase of 0.9%. Outlets have to be found for these additional quantities of milk,” he said.
Mr Hogan said the Commission took strong action by greatly increasing the agri-food promotion budget from €60m to €200m over the next four years.
“This should decisively assist producers and associations throughout the EU to find new alternative markets for their products,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has urged the Commission to immediately review intervention milk prices.
“This is a long, legislative process. However, steps must now be taken to ensure stability for dairy farmers right across Europe. Every cent taken from the farmgate milk price has a significant impact on the income of the average dairy farmer, which simply cannot be sustained,” she said.
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