EU dairy sector must proceed boldly - but cautiously - in post-quota era

Share of Global Production

The European Union is the largest producer of dairy products in the world, accounting for 20 percent of global production in 2013. However, production levels have actually decreased by five percent since 1990, when the EU’s share of global production was 31 percent.

The quota system was introduced in 1984, to control escalating production levels while maintaining the price-support structure of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The core aim of the CAP was to support farmers’ incomes while ensuring an affordable and plentiful supply of food within Europe. This inevitably led to a distortion of market forces, which limited the sector’s competitiveness and ability to respond to increased global demand for dairy products.

Post - Quota World

In April 2015, the EU’s dairy farmers were released from the constraints of the dairy quota system and industry participants are now focused on the present realities and future prospects of the post-quota world.

Industry analysts and participants have outlined two alternative future scenarios. The first possibility is that a two-track European dairy industry will emerge, which will result in no significant change to the production capacity of the EU.

This forecast would suggest that the countries that are currently at, or above, their milk quota will continue to increase production.

In contrast, those countries that are currently below their assigned quota limit will allow production to fall even further. Those countries likely to expand production are in northern Europe, along a line stretching from Ireland in the west across northern France as far east as Poland and the Baltic countries.

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With over 30 years of experience in the food and agribusiness sector, Director Déirdre Nic Carthaigh is an exceptional leader with an extensive track record in completing due diligence, feasibility, market entry, and growth assignments worldwide.


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