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Brussels, 25 March 2010

Conference "What future for Milk?" on Friday, 26 March 2010.

More than 400 delegates from all parts of the dairy supply chain plus political and administrative stakeholders will attend a Conference in Brussels tomorrow to discuss the prospects for the dairy sector  against the background of recent extreme price volatility and a future milk production without quotas.. The event will be opened by EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloș, who described the Conference as "an important part of the process of  preparing the sector for the challenges and opportunities ahead". Prices paid to dairy farmers fell to particularly low levels last spring – well below the costs of production for many farmers. The Commission's use of market support tools, notably public intervention and private storage aid, was instrumental in putting a floor in the market and helping not only to stabilise prices but also creating the foundation for the recovery later in the year. The conference will in particular discuss important issues currently on the agenda of the High Level Group on Milk.

Towards the end of the crisis management of the dairy sector in 2009 and within the context of the Health Check conclusions confirming the end of quotas in 2015, the Commission established a High Level Group to study mid-term and long-term arrangements aiming to stabilise the market and producers' income while enhancing transparency in the market. In the course of the Conference, DG Agriculture and Rural Development Director-General Jean-Luc Demarty will provide a summary on the work of the High Level Group so far (11.45-12.15) – bearing in mind that the group will only draw its final conclusions in June. A  panel discussion among stakeholder representatives will subsequently look at contractual relations, bargaining power and transparency in the dairy supply chain. Another panel will look at market instruments, futures and volatility. Participants will include Member State representatives on the High Level Group,representatives of the European Parliament, producers & cooperatives, traders & retailers, industry, trade unions, consumers, and officials from the EU Institutions. Participation is by invitation only. Accredited journalists can register on the day.

There will be a press point with Commissioner Cioloș just outside the conference room at 9.30, after his opening speech (9.00-9.30). 

Web-streaming will be available in 6 languages (EN, FR, DE, ES, IT, PL) on:

All speeches – and a range of photos – will be published shortly afterwards on the conference website:  - and a video of the conference will also be made available in due course.

Annex: Evolution of dairy prices in the main producing Member States in recent years

Annex – dairy prices

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
The graph below highlights the evolution of farm gate milk prices in the main producing Member States in recent years. It shows the exceptionally high prices seen in 2007/08 and the exceptionally low prices last spring. Latest figures show that average producer prices in the main producer countries have recovered to around 28cents per litre – which is close to the seasonal average in recent normal years. However, there is clearly a downward trend in prices – but this should also be viewed in connection with the (now decoupled) dairy premium of 3.5 cents per litre paid to milk producers, introduced by the 2003 reform and implemented gradually from 2004 as compensation for lower institutional prices.
Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

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