EU Milk Quotas to Face the Axe; Brown Says Six-Year Plan a 'Step in the Right Direction' to Liberate Dairy Industry

The Birmingham Post (England), September 24, 1998 | Go to article overview

EU Milk Quotas to Face the Axe; Brown Says Six-Year Plan a 'Step in the Right Direction' to Liberate Dairy Industry


Agriculture Secretary Mr Nick Brown has proposed a six-year programme to phase out EU milk quotas.

He said an alternative approach was needed following a European Commission suggestion that 15 per cent cuts to support for dairy products should be brought in over four years.

The proposal was a "step in the right direction," said Mr Brown but "does not go far enough because the quota regime would be left intact".

The Agriculture Secretary has got together with his Danish, Swedish and Italian counterparts to call for the plan which they say will liberate the dairy industry from the bureaucracy and unfairness of the quota system. Mr Brown said the proposal meets hi s aims to allow consumers to have access to dairy products at competitive prices, while keeping expenditure within the financial guideline for agriculture.

The British-backed alternative would involve a 30 per cent reduction in support prices for butter and skimmed milk powder over six years leading to the removal of quotas in 2006.

It would also entail an extension of direct payments to farmers to allow for greater price reduction. Meanwhile farmers are looking to help themselves in difficult times for the milk industry.

The risk of unsold milk has made dairy farmers determined to build processing capacity to create extra demand, according to Mr Andrew Dare, chairman of Worcester-based Milk Marque Developments.

Speaking at the Plunkett Foundation's fourth annual milk groups conference, he said that, at the time of deregulation, processors assured farmers that their milk would be sought after. …

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