EMB Newsletter September 2015
Dear dairy farmers and interested parties,
My dear EMB members, colleagues and fellow protesters: On September 7, you have sent an unequivocal message to EU policymakers - that the situation on our farms is dire!
Thousands of dairy farmers and tractors protested in Brussels for structural changes in dairy policy. It was evident that the journey to Brussels was very important for us farmers. But just for the sake of clarity: No farmer is that bored or motivated to drive a tractor hundreds of kilometres to Brussels or travel several hours by bus, leaving the farm and herd behind. We milk producers are in deep trouble and its high time policymakers finally wrap their heads around this fact.
Solidarity was strong on our podium on September 7; our supporters included a citizens' initiative and a number of developing countries who share our vision 100%. Shocking as it may be, the agriculture ministers are completely oblivious. When you look at the package of measures they approved, it is clear that they have absolutely no idea about our concerns. The 500 million Euros that are to go towards, among other measures, export and sales promotion are either meant to simply placate farmers or policymakers are consciously backing the wrong strategies! Nothing was done to attack the root of the problem - the oversupply of milk. Quite the contrary, overproduction is still being actively promoted!
The 500 million Euros - which Member States have already started scrimmaging over - are merely alms being handed out to farmers. The dairy industry with its strong lobby has already put its hands up! This money could be put to so many better uses, for example, towards a temporary reduction in milk production. The package of measures approved by the agriculture ministers is going to do nothing to resolve the underlying structural issues. Crises will continue to occur and the period of respite between them will keep on shrinking.
So long as EU policymakers refuse to accept that structural changes are necessary, we will not only continue with our actions but we must also exert more pressure through our protests. Till it is clear to all policymakers: The dairy market does not need short-term, misdirected solutions but measures to ensure long-term stability.
Sieta van Keimpema, EMB Vice-President and President of DDB Netherlands