Copa and Cogeca have welcomed EU Farm Ministers support for extending the EU milk package beyond 2020, stressing that the package helps to improve farmers weak positioning in the food chain.
The milk package focuses on strengthening contractual relations between farmers and processors in order to improve producers weak position in the food chain and to enable them to get a better return from the market.
In a meeting with the Maltese Presidency today, Copa Vice-President Henri Brichart supported its extension beyond 2020. Dairy farmers have suffered a lot recently and contracts under the package help to reduce the impact of market volatility and give producers some predictability.
The EU milk market has meanwhile improved since the crisis last year. EU milk prices have been rising since August 2016. Butter prices have reached historical records. This is a result of increased demand from China and the USA as well as actions taken by the European Commission and actions taken by farmers since June 2016. The increased prices on now to starting to feed through to producers.
But Mr Brichart called on the EU Commission and Minsters to remain vigilant as the markets are still fragile and it takes time for producers to recover their cash flow. Copa & Cogeca count on the Commission to continue with its prudent approach when it comes to pushing skimmed milk powder stocks back onto the market in order to prevent the markets from deteriorating and ensure sufficient recovery of farmers cash flow.
A pro-active approach is also needed in all agricultural sectors currently in difficulty, in particular in the beef sector as market prices paid to EU beef producers are below the average of the past five years and in the poultry sector where the avian influenza is having a severe impact on EU poultry producers.
Copa and Cogeca also welcomed the fact that the EU Sheepmeat Forum has released its recommendations which concern essential aspects to help give European sheep producers a more viable future.
Together with many Ministers, Copa & Cogeca also supported the trade report by the EU Commission which confirms the bad impact that upcoming trade deals could have on the EU beef and rice sector especially the one being negotiated with the EU Latin American Trade bloc Mercosur.
The Presidency meanwhile announced that it will make progress on the future shape of the CAP during its Presidency. The topic will be up for debate at EU Farm Ministers meeting in March. The Presidency also aims to find a feasible solution to the organics file and the Presidency is working on a compromise text. It will also look at the link between agriculture and the climate and explore ideas on how to adapt to changing climate regimes. This will be on the agenda for Ministers informal meeting in Malta on May 20-23 in which Copa & Cogeca will take part. Finally, the Presidency aims to get a balanced EU position on EU efforts to protect and sustainably manage forests.