Is the removal of quotas responsible for the increase in EU milk production in 2015?

The plight of milk producers supplying the dairy cooperative Arla in Denmark and Sweden was the lead article in my Danish newspaper yesterday morning. Interviews with a number of farmers supplying Arla highlighted their loss-making situation at current milk prices. The journalist writing the story highlighted that a number of factors were responsible for the current low milk prices: the Russian import ban on EU dairy products, lower import demand in China but also increased production in the EU which he attributed to the removal of milk quotas in April of this year.
That EU milk production has increased is clear, as shown in the figure below.

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Food Wise 2025 agri-food strategy launched in Ireland

Last week the Irish government launched the latest in a series of rolling ten-year strategies for the Irish agri-food sector called Food Wise 2025 (FW2025). The report follows in the footsteps of Agri Food 2010 (published in 2000), Agri Vision 2015, Food Harvest 2020 (full disclosure: I was a member of the committees that drafted those two reports) and now Food Wise 2025. In this post, I review the latest strategy and comment, in particular, on its environmental implications.
While Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) contained a number of detailed sectoral targets, Food Wise 2025 avoids this level of quantification and contains just four headline aspirations:
• increase the value of agri food exports by 85% to €19 billion,
• increase value added to the sector by 70% to €13 billion,
• increase the value of primary production by 65% to €10 billion.

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Lessons from the 2009 EU dairy market crisis

The EU dairy market is now recovering from the severe drop in milk prices in 2009. Perhaps the clearest sign of this recovery is the setting of export refunds on dairy products to zero since mid-November, as world market prices for dairy products have strengthened in recent months.

It is thus an opportune time to evaluate the EU’s response to the crisis, and to see what lessons might be drawn for how the Union can address similar problems in other farm sectors in the future. My view is that there is a lot to be learned from the dairy crisis, and that the outgoing Commissioner deserves credit for the way she handled it.

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