Written Answers. - Milk Quota.

Ivan Yates

Question:

102 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position in relation to the 10 per cent milk quota clawback arrangements under the milk quota system, with reference to the amount of milk that has been clawbacked since the introduction of the scheme; the way in which this was managed in terms of reallocation; whether those to whom it was reallocated were charged for it; when it is proposed to review the operation of this with a view to modifications or changes; if he will consider the question of compensation in the context of the clawback where someone bought this quota expensively through different restructuring schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8324/98]

The milk quota clawback measure was introduced in October 1996 in order to encourage non-active quota holders to re-direct their quota away from private land transactions and to offer it instead to the restructuring or temporary leasing schemes. The quota is then available to small scale producers who have first priority status under both schemes.

Quota becoming available as a result of clawback is added to the national reserve and is allocated to producers, free of charge, on hardship grounds or on a temporary basis on animal disease grounds. An amount of 306,712 gallons of milk quota has been taken into the national reserve under the terms of the clawback arrangements.

I have reviewed the operation of the clawback arrangements and because of the very significant increase in land transactions and the consequences for the restructuring and temporary leasing schemes, I have increased the level of clawback from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

The Deputy will be aware of course, that there are specific land transactions to which the clawback arrangements do not apply.

I do not consider that any question of compensation arises in relation to the clawback. Producers have a choice to enter into a private land transaction which is subject to clawback or to offer their quota to the restructuring or temporary leasing schemes which are not subject to clawback.