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‘WE were disappointed by the weakness of the department's proposals to improve the state of the dairy sector and call on Defra to take a more proactive stance.’
So says the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom) in a recently published report of an inquiry it held into European proposals for the dairy sector and the future of the dairy industry.
Giving the background to its inquiry, the EFRACom notes that, prompted by uncertainty about the impact of the abolition of milk quotas in 2015 and after a period of intense price volatility, the European Commission established a ‘High Level Experts Group’ (HLG) on milk in October 2009. This group reported in June 2010 and made seven recommendations to the EC about the mid- to long-term future of the dairy sector, focusing on stabilising the market and producers' incomes and enhancing transparency in the market.
Among the HLG's recommendations were that the EC should consider the most appropriate way of encouraging the voluntary use of formal written contracts to cover deliveries of raw milk. These, the HLG said, should cover price, volume, timing of deliveries and duration.