Ulster Farmers’ Union, dairy chairman, William Irvine, says a plan to allow dairy cooperatives and farmers to agree to cut milk production on a temporary basis is losing support in Europe. This was confirmed at a meeting in Brussels of COPA, the umbrella body of European farm lobby organisations.
The voluntary reduction initiative was first considered in March by COPA. Then and now the issue is that the emergency scheme was introduced by the European Commission without any funding.
“At our meeting this week it was clear that support for this initiative has weakened even further, with only Finland, France and Spain expressing any interest,” said Mr Irvine.
He added that it was also made clear again by the Commission this week that there is no funding available for the programme.
From the outset, the UFU opposed the supply reduction programme, on grounds that a voluntary scheme without funding could never deliver a meaningful outcome.
Mr Irvine said there was now widespread acceptance that the evidence failed to support the case. “It was clear from the meeting this week that almost all member states have big doubts about the effectiveness of such a programme,” said Mr Irvine.