Written Answers. - Milk Quota Regime.

Seamus Kirk

Question:

54 Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if he will establish an agricultural forum for dairy farmers to discuss the proposed mooted change to the milk quota regime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1554/96]

There is, as of now, no proposal from the European Commission to change the milk quota regime. This regime is scheduled to be in place until the year 2000, at least.

However, in light of developments which have taken, or are likely to take, place, including the GATT and further expansion of the EU, now is the time to begin consideration of the type of policy structure which would best serve the interests of our dairy industry in the longer term. I have, therefore, invited a small group representative of the various interests in the dairy industry, including, of course, the farming interest, to work with my Department in assessing a range of broad policy options. This group will begin its work in the near future. The milk quota review group, which has been in existence for some years, is consulted on operational aspects of the existing milk quota regime.