Milk quotas come to an end
The EU will abolish the milk quota system today, Wednesday, thirty-one years after it was introduced. In future producers will be allowed to produce as much milk as they can and want to. Small dairy farmers won't be able to keep up with the competition on the market, some commentators fear. Others believe the end of the quotas will have a positive impact.
Dairy farmers' fears exaggerated
Fears about the negative consequences of the abolition of the milk quota are unfounded, the conservative daily Die Presse comments: "Now everyone's moaning that the end of the quota will 'raise production costs'. ... There has long been plenty of evidence that by forcing producers to become more efficient, market pressure (if you allow for such a thing, that is: farmers are still light years from that) doesn't raise production costs but rather lowers them. ... Exports should make up for the large increase in domestic production. ... For example to China. There, however, the Austrians fear competition from New Zealand. Strange: New Zealand abolished farm subsidies long ago, and so it must be in far worse a position than the doubly subsidised (that is for growers and dairy farmers) EU milk."
The market will sort things out
The scrapping of the milk quota will shake the market less than expected, the liberal daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus believes: "According to the prognoses milk production will increases significantly in the EU in the coming years. For the farms and dairies that means stiff competition. The lifting of restrictions is occurring in a different situation than originally expected: the major upheavals on EU milk markets already occurred last autumn. … The import bans introduced by Russia as counter-sanctions to the EU sanctions left Europe with a considerable oversupply of dairy products from one day to the next. … Scrapping the quotas means that there will be an oversupply of milk in the future too. … As has always been the case, to remain competitive you need good product development, high quality and competitive prices."
Small farmers lose out against milk giants
Lithuania's farmers won't be able to keep up with the big dairy companies in Western Europe, the business daily Verslo žinios writes in view of the end of EU milk quotas: "The experts say the end of the quota system could increase unpasteurised milk production by 55 to 60 percent. If these predictions prove correct a milk oversupply could result that also influences milk prices. … The dairy industry is one of the most important in Lithuania's agricultural sector. For the farmers of our country the scrapping of milk quotas is highly unfavourable, and will have a particularly negative impact on small farmers. … If you look at the farms you can understand the concern. The dairies of Western Europe are far more modern than Lithuania's, while at the same time their production prices are lower. So the farmers in those countries can sell more milk at cheaper prices."