Dáil Éireann - Volume 548 - 14 February, 2002
Written Answers. - Milk Quota.
Mr. D. Moynihan Mr. D. Moynihan
46. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the measures the Government has introduced since 1997 through the management of milk quota to assist small and medium sized dairy farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4268/02]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): I have emphasised on many occasions that the main focus of my policy in relation to the operation of the milk quota regime in Ireland is to provide additional quota to small and medium size committed producers on a permanent basis and at a reasonable cost. My objectives are to improve the structure of milk production at producer level in Ireland and to make dairying a more profitable and efficient enterprise.
Since 1997, I have introduced restructuring schemes on an annual basis under which over 115 million gallons of milk has been sold to small and medium sized producers. During that time I have reduced the price of quota under these schemes from €0.49 per litre to €0.31 per litre, i.e., a decrease of almost 37%. In the same period, I reduced the price of temporary leased quota by almost 50% from approximately €0.06 per litre to €0.04 per litre.
I introduced revised milk quota regulations with effect from April 2000. The main objective of the changed regime was to introduce pro visions whereby milk quota would be placed in the hands of committed dairy farmers on a permanent basis and at a reasonable cost. Almost 80 million gallons was reallocated permanently under the 2001-2002 milk quota restructuring schemes.
In excess of 41 million gallons was allocated to producers with a quota of less than 180,000 litres while a further 27 million gallons was sold to producers with a quota between 180,000 and 275,000 litres during the last 2000-2001 restructuring schemes.
I also allocated the 25 million gallons of additional quota, available to Ireland as part of the 32 million gallons of additional quota which I successfully negotiated under the Agenda 2000 agreement. Some 15 million gallons was allocated to over 21,000 active producers, with a quota of less than 55,000 gallons. A further 9.5 million gallons was allocated to some 3,400 younger dairy farmers with a quota of less than 35,000 gallons during the last two milk quota years.
The new provisions have already had a significant impact, in that the vast bulk of the 140 million gallons of milk quota, which was available for allocation on a permanent basis, was granted to small and medium size producers. The number of medium sized producers increased by 65% between 1997 and 2001 while the number of smaller scale producers decreased by 38% during the same period.
In addition, the Government have introduced tax relief on the purchase of milk quota which will be of further benefit to milk producers in growing their enterprise.
Dáil Éireann 548 Written Answers. Milk Quota.