Cool response to new EU contracts
New dairy supplier rules do nothing to avert price collapse, says ICMSA chief
Published 14/12/2010 | 05:00
Farm organisations have given a cool reception to new dairy supplier rules proposed by the EU.
Following last year's dairy crisis, the EU Commission has come up with a set of proposals that will allow dairy farmers to insist on written contracts specifying the price, volume and duration of any deal for their milk.
However, the ICMSA slated the proposals, claiming that they did not contain a single measure that would prevent a repeat of the 2009 price collapse. Relying on contractual arrangements between suppliers and dairies would not work, according to ICMSA president Jackie Cahill.
He said the Commission was pre-occupied with protecting the position of milk processors instead of putting forward provisions to address the overwhelming position of multinational retailers.
IFA dairy chairman Kevin Kiersey said that "this draft legislation fails to tackle the retail end, and it is ultimately from the retail trade that farmers get a price for their produce".
The announcement has no implications for co-op suppliers. Instead, it is designed to protect farmers supplying privately owned dairies that dominate the sector in some of Europe's largest dairy markets such as Britain and France.
IBEC's dairy policy spokesman, Michael Barry, said that as 54pc of EU milk is delivered to farmer-owned co-operatives, the Commission's proposal for farmer producer groups to negotiate with farmer-owned cooperatives would achieve little.