Milk quota abolition: Farmers and dairy industry’s reaction

© Tim Scrivener
By Charlie Taverner, 1 April 2015

The end of milk quotas might be a new dawn for dairy, but reaction in the UK has been somewhat mixed. Producers in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands are cheering the demise of restrictions after 30 years, as they hope to tap into growing world demand. But, in the UK, which hasn’t been over quota for more than 10 years, the mood on 1 April was a blend of buoyant optimism and quiet concern.

See also: What’s changed in dairy since 1984 – the numbers

Here’s how the industry reacted:

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison

“Farmers and dairy processors here do have some concerns about how other EU countries will react to the ending of quotas. “Some are rapidly increasing their output without an end market for these goods. With milk prices yet to show any strong signs of recovery, this could push farmgate milk prices down further in the EU, and stall any recovery in the dairy markets. It’s vital that expansion in any member state is planned in accordance with available market opportunities.”

Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright

“While Britain remains under quota, the potential addition of more production to the EU milk glut has led the FUW to repeatedly express concern about further increases in price volatility in an already saturated marketplace. “Given such warnings, it is imperative that processors work to prevent the type of boom and bust price volatility which could follow quota abolition.”

Chief executive of Dairy UK Dr Judith Bryans

“Although quotas may have been considered as an appropriate response at the time of their introduction, they also held back the development of a truly efficient and competitive European dairy industry over the past 30 years. “However, it is now time for the European industry to play a greater role in the global market.”

Irish Farmers’ Association dairy committee chairman Sean O’Leary. Read more

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