Copa and Cogeca have warned of the seriously difficult market situation faced by EU milk producers at the EU Milk Market Observatory meeting today and called for action.
Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of Copa-Cogeca Milk Working Party Mansel Raymond said: “Today, the 750,000 European milk producers are struggling with their margins and face major cash flow problems. Prices paid to milk producers don’t even cover production costs in most countries.
“The situation is becoming unbearable in the short-term without the European Commission’s support. This is urgently needed in order to avoid a serious loss in production capacity which we cannot afford to do with food demand set to rise. In particular, animal protein will be crucial in the medium term and milk protein will play a key role to ensure a balanced diet. A loss of production capacity in the milk sector would also disturb the meat market. We therefore urge the Commission to take immediate action to improve the cash flow problems faced by milk producers.”
He continued: “Key measures include allowing Member States to advance the direct payments before the 1st of December and to ensure that the 2014/2015 superlevy is returned to the dairy sector to help dairy farmers with their cash flow problems.
“Around 700 million € will be taken out of the dairy sector in these difficult times when dairy farmers desperately need cash. This should therefore be returned to the sector, be it for investments, less favoured areas, internal and external promotion and quality schemes. Moreover, the objective of the safety nets are to put a floor in the market, to prevent milk producers from going out of business.
“Producers in most countries are today being paid a milk price well below production costs and below the safety net level. We therefore urge the public intervention price level to be assessed in order to help put a proper floor in the market. Without these measures, there will be an adverse impact in the EU’s rural areas which is the last thing we need in the current economic situation,” he added.