The first draft of the report on the dairy market being prepared by Jim Nicholson MEP on behalf of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has been completed.
There will now be an opportunity for MEPs to amend the report and the Ulster Unionist representative has called on local stakeholders in the sector to contribute ideas which may then be included in the final document.
Speaking after the publication of the draft report, Mr Nicholson said: “The report comes at a crucial time in the history of the sector given the challenges posed by volatility plus the imminent end of EU milk quotas in April this year.
“Its aim is to examine the prospects for the dairy sector across the EU and assess the implementation of the Milk Package which I steered through the European Parliament in 2011-12.
“The report considers that the uptake of the tools in the Milk Package, such as strengthening contracts and creating Producer Organisations, was disappointing, but nevertheless encourages the European Commission to play a role in raising awareness that these tools are there to be used for the benefit of the sector.
“The report also calls on the Commission to consider additional support measures, such as a more robust and easy-to-use Milk Market Observatory to improve the flow of information in the sector. In preparing the first draft of the report I have sought the views of local dairy farmers, processors, Commission officials and industry representatives.
“With the report now in draft form, local stakeholders have another opportunity to come forward with their opinions and ideas.
“I encourage everyone with an interest to visit my website www.jim-nicholson.eu where the report can be found and invite local stakeholders to submit comments and suggestions via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 23rd March.”