EU Measures For Dairy Sector Good News For Farmers

28 February 2011
SNP MEP and full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, Alyn Smith, has warmly welcomed confirmation from Commissioner Ciolos of details of the upcoming legislation on contractual relations in the dairy sector.
The Commissioner's letter comes in response to a letter sent by Mr Smith jointly with his Parliamentary colleague, Welsh Plaid Cymru MEP, Jill Evans, asking for clarification on several points related to written contracts and exclusivity requirements - big issues for Scottish dairy farmers.

Commenting on the letter, Smith said:

"I did not doubt that Commissioner Ciolos was thinking along the right lines when it came to addressing the imba lances in the milk market: everything we have seen or heard from him so far has been very encouraging.

"However, as the Commission's legislative proposal on contractual relations in the dairy sector has evolved, ambiguity has crept in and so I wanted clarification on a number of points. First, written contracts. These provide one of the only elements of protection for dairy farmers and a clause in the draft proposal had been dropped. Nevertheless, Mr Ciolos's reply to my letter confirms that it remains the case that farmers will be entitled to demand a contract with such specifications as they deem necessary.

"Second, exclusivity requirements. The Commissioner's response is particularly comforting. He writes, in clear terms, that: "The proposal in no way requires a milk producer to sell all his milk under one written contract to one processor or collector." This could not be clearer and puts my mind at ease that the eventual legislative proposal will do much t o tackle the shameful imbalances that have existed for too long in this sector.

"I look forward to seeing this report in the Parliament, and commend Commissioner Ciolos for his work so far."