EMB Newsletter July/August 2019
Dear dairy farmers and interested parties,
A number of important events have taken place at European and international level over the last few weeks. The heads of state and government of the EU member states made decisions on filling the EU's top jobs, and the European Parliament also found new representatives for its key positions. I wish them all the best for the next five years as they strengthen and help build a fair Europe with an equitable agricultural policy.
Another very important event of the last few weeks occurred on 28 June with the signing of a free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur block of South-American countries. As a dairy farmer, I would like and have to express my major misgivings about this new trade agreement. The negotiated high beef quota for exports from the South-American countries can put severe pressure on meat prices for producers in the EU. Milk prices within the EU could also drop due to an increase in soya imports. According to the agreement, they are to be subject to reduced export duties in the Mercosur countries. The cheapened soya imports could further boost milk production in the EU and hence overproduction in the dairy sector. At the same time, the liberalised trade of processed milk products can lower milk prices for producers in Mercosur countries. This agreement is going to be of no help to farmers on either side of the Atlantic. On 2 July, the EMB reacted with a press release, which you can also find in this issue of our newsletter. In addition, numerous dairy farmers are protesting in various European countries against the agreement. And the discussion about ratification is only just beginning!
Dairy farmers are in the eye of a perfect storm, as not only the free trade agreements are a problem. The risk of a no-deal Brexit is increasing, whilst milk prices in the EU are already low.
We are also dealing with other topics in this newsletter. Swiss farmers are calling the decreases in milk prices by dairies into question, and the Belgian milk producer Daniel Hick talks about his experience with fair milk Fairebel and about the launch of their new organic ice cream. The German dairy farmers' association BDM provides an overview of the German milk sector.
I hope you find this issue interesting!
The next issue of our newsletter will be published in September.
Sieta van Keimpema, EMB vice-president and president of the Dutch Dairymen Board (DDB)