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Recent suggestions for the reimposition of schemes to control dairy volumes have to be knocked on the head.

It is simply crazy in a country that exports 90% of its dairy product to a global market to even suggest such a measure.

With dairy markets still in difficulty, knee jerk reactions are unhelpful and play on fears of co-op members in advance of one of the biggest opportunities for our industry with the abolition of quotas.

ICOS led the charge in Brussels when quotas by the back door were sought during the CAP reforms and we were successful in that campaign.

ICOS however have fully supported the retention and extension of dairy market tools to help the market in times of difficulty and to provide some sort of protection for farmers and their co-operative businesses.

ICOS pushed for, and got, during the CAP reform the retention of dairy safety nets that were to be deleted or reduced substantially in initial drafts such as PSA and Intervention.

During this market disturbance we have been very strong on opening a suite of feasible solutions the EU could enact to alleviate pressure on our cooperative dairy business, and their suppliers.

But ‘volumetric control’ is very much off the table, and the imposition of same would be a majorly regressive step for our farmer owned co-operative businesses.

We continue to work on:

  • Further adjustment of dates and quantities for APS to ensure product does not come out at peak supply in Europe further putting pressure on markets.
  • Continue work on date changes and quantities for intervention to show it is ready as a viable tool.
  • We are looking for Commissioner Hogan and the commission college level to find a solution to Russian crisis to look for the rollback of sanctions. As well as losing the Russian market, the longer this goes on, we are losing supply chains, relationships etc with Russian buyers, that will take many years to build back up.
  • We want to see active and aggressive work on Trade agreements, with the opening of 3rd country developing markets for EU dairy at the heart of these efforts.
  • A concerted attack by DG Agri & Trade on export certs and the removal of other SPS barriers to get EU product moving around the world.
  • Food Aid Schemes (funded by superlevy monies) to buy up dairy product for various refugees crises around the world should be used as a win/win means to move stock.
  • The acceptance of a technical butterfat adjustment, which does not interfere with the quota regulation as agreed in 2008.
  • That superlevy bills are to be spread over 5 years to alleviate the cash flow pressures dairy farmers will suffer as they await for the market to recover.
  • A proper review of the intervention price and also the feasibility of a targeted export refund scheme (again funded by superlevy monies), to compete against the CWT scheme run by the US.