End of milk quotas 'will hurt small farmers'

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By Euronews
End of milk quotas 'will hurt small farmers'

<p>Farmers driving tractors pulled into Brussels on Tuesday hours before the ending of milk quotas across the EU.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bruxelles: les éleveurs laitiers allument un feu devant le Parlement européen. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SCHOPGES?src=hash">#SCHOPGES</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MILKQUOTA?src=hash">#MILKQUOTA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AGRICULTURE?src=hash">#AGRICULTURE</a> <a href="http://t.co/lIloffATb2">http://t.co/lIloffATb2</a></p>— Xavier Delwarte (@Altertierra) <a href="https://twitter.com/Altertierra/status/582840704981983232">March 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Small farm owners warn that the liberalisation of the milk market from midnight on April 1 will lead to a massive ramp up of production and a drop in prices which would force many of them out of business.</p> <p>Maria Heubuch, an <span class="caps">MEP</span> for the Greens told euronews that if small farmers disappeared “Europe could see more factory farms with 1000, 2000 or even 5000 cows, merely providing raw materials for the industry.”</p> <p>German farmer Karl-Otto Vollrath, who joined Tuesday’s protest, predicted: “There’ll be no winners whether you have 50 or 500 cows.”</p> <p>Quotas began in 1984 as a response to the so-called EU milk lakes and butter mountains caused by overproduction and many warn of a repeat of those days.</p> <p>Maria Heubuch, also a Greens <span class="caps">MEP</span>, predicted that “yields will continue to rise and prices will continue to fall.”</p> <p>Romuald Schaber, President of the European Milk Board called for more effective regulation to ensure prices don’t remain low.</p> <p>“We demand a responsible market where in times of crisis, production can be higher. But where the market comes back into balance quickly so that the prices don’t become a bottomless pit,” Schaber told euronews.</p> <p>The abolition of milk quotas is being lauded by the food giants, who say they need to meet the increased demand from the likes of China.</p> <p>Germany and Netherlands are set to increase milk production by as much as 20 percent while Ireland is expecting a 50 percent rise in output by 2020.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Last quota milk being collected here thank God. Back to normality from now on. <a href="http://t.co/gVrwI6Q9mV">pic.twitter.com/gVrwI6Q9mV</a></p>— Michael Downey (@michaeldowney6) <a href="https://twitter.com/michaeldowney6/status/581733325099921408">March 28, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>