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"Future of Irish Dairy Sector must be safeguarded" - Carthy appointed Shadow Rapporteur on EU Milk Package report

5 November, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Fein MEP, Matt Carthy, has been assigned as Shadow Rappateour on a European Parliament report "Prospects for the EU dairy sector - Review of the implementation of the Dairy package". Today, Wednesday, the Agricultural & Rural Development committee in the Parliament held it's first exchange of views on the report, for which the ECR's Jim Nicolson will be the main rappateour.

At the committee meeting held in Brussels today, Mr. Carthy highlighted the need for appropriate safeguards to be put in place to protect dairy farmers.

He said:

“I am pleased to be appointed the Shadow Rapporteur on this report which will be drafted at a critical time in terms of the future of the dairy sector, particularly as we enter the post milk quota era.

“In its own report into the ongoing developments in the Dairy sector the European Commission concluded that 'The EU milk market situation is currently favourable and the medium prospects are good, though with probably more episodes of extreme price volatility'. The difficulty from my point of view is that these episodes will cause the destruction of the livelihoods of farmers if appropriate safeguards and supports are not in place.

“I acknowledge that the European Commission is currently implementing a Milk Market Observatory, which will act as a watchdog and provide early warnings to the European Commission of any potentially volatile market situations. However the observatory will only serve a purpose if sufficient safety nets are developed to provide supports to Dairy farmers during periods of difficult market conditions.

“I also hope that there will be scope in this report to propose measures to ensure that the power of large supermarket and multiple retail chains to set the price for milk and dairy products is appropriately addressed. Farmers must be guaranteed a fair price for their produce.

“I look forward to working on this Report and I intend to put forward proposals which would support and protect the interests of Irish Dairy Farmers in so far as possible, particularly small and medium farmers who can be particularly susceptible to changes in market conditions. I hope to meet with interested organisations in the coming weeks to discuss these matters and would welcome any contributions or views from Dairy farmers. Any comments can be emailed to me at [email protected].”

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