“It is hard to find a sector with more promising prospects in the future than dairy”, quoted EDA President Michel Nalet EU Commissioner Phil Hogan.
With this statement he opened the EDA ‘Dairy Policy for the 21st Century’ Conference, held in Brussels last week. This statement was further underlined by MEP Jim Nicholson, who is about to present his Dairy Report on prospects for the EU dairy sector to the European Parliament. Nicholson confirmed that the prospects for dairy are and remain favourable; he also insisted on a further improvement of the Milk Market Observatory (MMO). Mr Tom Tynan, member of the cabinet of EU Commissioner Hogan, confirmed that the MMO will be enhanced to improved relevance.
While focusing on the need for further investments and the exploration of new markets, Tynan added that Europe is ready for major expansion into the global markets based on its huge potential for milk and dairy production. He also said that environmental legislation can have a major impact on the development and growth of the dairy supply chain. All dairy experts gathering at the meeting agreed that the dairy sector will continue to set the pace for creating jobs, assuring growth, nurturing innovation and strengthening competitiveness in rural Europe and beyond.
The dairy experts also focused on how to manage the development of the dairy farming and processing industry in the post-quota era. Professor Holger Thiele from the Universty of Kiel in Germany launched the debate by not only stating the need for more competitiveness, but also by demanding for a moderate increase of the existing safety net. He also pleaded for more risk management with the possibility of introducing a market-based insurance system in the long run. Finally he believes Europe should foresee specific support for the dairy producers in specific (mountainous) areas.
Mr Jens Schaps, Director at DG Agri, said that the US model for milk margin insurance would not be an option for Europe as the margins guaranteed in the US are usually way too high. He also confirmed that the medium and long-term prospects for the EU dairy sector are profoundly favourable. The dairy markets will be driven by an increasing global demand, especially from Asia and Africa. The EU Commission is focusing on support for broader market access in third countries for EU dairy products.
The European Dairy Association represents the interests of dairy processors in the European Union. The membership of EDA consists of the associations of dairy processors in EU Member States.