Industry calls for increased action on dairy

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The chairman of the European farmers’ organisation’s (Copa) milk working party, Mansel Raymond, last week stated that action needs to be increased to aid the dairy industry.

Speaking at a public hearing in the European Parliament, Mr Raymond, also an NFU member, said: “Prices have been under pressure for the past two years and have plummeted by over 40% over this period. The price the producer gets doesn’t even cover production costs.”

Although he admitted that long term the prospects were good, the short term problems need addressing far better. Despite the introduction of voluntary supply management measures, the uptake is believed to be low as there is little financial incentive for producer organisations and cooperatives to use them. A rise in the skimmed milk powder intervention ceiling is welcome but that too is unlikely to be enough.

MEPs voice frustrations on biotechnology

Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee last week took another swipe at the European Commission over GM policy.

During a debate last Tuesday, MEPs supported a resolution calling on the commission not to reauthorise a genetically modified carnation and a variety of maize. The carnation is modified to have a different flower colour, while the maize is resistant to certain pests. The committee’s position shows a frustration from the parliament at the commission’s current approach to biotechnology.

Irish MEP Lynn Boylan said: “I really don’t think that the commission is listening to us at this point. They are continuing to try and bulldoze authorisations through. The glyphosate debacle has further demonstrated how flawed our system of authorisation is for both plant protection products and GMOs.” Recently however the findings of studies by eminent scientists in the US and UK have shown GM to be safe.