Written Answers. - Milk Quota.
407 Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will have investigations made into the circumstances surrounding a fine for over-production by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; if he has satisfied himself that there was sufficient legal basis for the imposition of this fine; if the fine was based on a butterfat or gallonage calculation of over-production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20211/00]
The legal basis for the calculation of the superlevy charged to the individual concerned has been outlined in full to him on a number of occasions. I am fully satisfied that the legal basis is correct. The basis for the levy and the general background was set out in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of 10 May.
Ireland, like all other member states in the European Union, has a national milk quota and can therefore produce up to that level without penalty. Milk production in excess of the national quota is, however, subject to a super levy. Super levy liability is calculated in accordance with EU legislation on the basis of milk deliveries to registered milk purchasers in the milk quota year.
In addition to the provisions relating to the imposition of a super levy when actual milk deliveries exceed the quota, the relevant EU regu lations include measures to penalise increases in the fat content of the milk deliveries. Each producer has a butterfat representative level, which is based on the fat content of his/her milk deliveries during either 1984/85 or 1985/86 milk quota years, whichever is the higher. At the end of each milk quota year, milk deliveries of each individual producer are adjusted to take account of the difference between the actual fat content of the producer's milk deliveries and his/her butterfat representative level. The actual milk deliveries are adjusted upwards or downwards by 0.18% for each 0.1 grams/kg difference between actual fat and butterfat representative level.
Each year every co-operative/dairy submits details of the aggregated total of their producers' actual deliveries and fat adjusted deliveries. My Department, on the basis of these figures, then calculates the overall totals at national level. In accordance with the relevant provisions in the EU regulations, super levy liability is calculated on the higher of the two quantities namely actual or fat adjusted milk deliveries provided that this quantity exceeds the national quota.
The provisions of the EU regulations make it clear that it is not possible to collect levy from some producers on the basis of actual deliveries and other producers on fat adjusted deliveries for the same milk quota year. Neither is it possible to assess a producer's levy liability on the basis of fat adjusted deliveries if, at a national level, the total of the fat adjusted deliveries is lower than the total of actual deliveries.
The latter situation applied when the super levy liability was established in respect of the 1995-96 and 1996-97 milk quota years and therefore, the super levy liability of each producer had to be calculated on the basis of actual deliveries.
408 Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if it is the case, under the milk quota regulations as originally introduced, that farmers in the severely handicapped area were intended to have an entitlement to a milk quota the equivalent of 35,000 gallons. [20212/00]
There was never any stated intention in the milk quota regulations that farmers in the severely handicapped areas would have entitlement to a milk quota the equivalent of 35,000 gallons. When milk quotas were first introduced in 1984 individual quotas were based on deliveries during the 1983 calendar year plus 497 gallons for producers with deliveries of less than 14,000 gallons and 3.55% for producers with deliveries over 14,000 gallons.
The operation of the milk quota system in Ireland since then has taken particular account of the needs of small scale producers and a number of specific measures have been introduced to address their problems. The recently introduced revision to the milk quota regulations specifically targets small scale producers for favourable treat ment in the redistribution of permanent quota under the milk quota restructuring scheme.
The provision in the milk quota regulations under which quota is ring fenced in disadvantaged areas contributes to the retention of milk production in those regions of the country which are most vulnerable in terms of economic and social decline, and is of particular benefit to small scale committed producers.
The Milk Quota Appeals Tribunal adjudicates on cases of hardship and over the years, on its recommendation, quota has been allocated to many applicants, again mostly small scale producers. I will, in the future, continue to make whatever efforts are possible within the constraints of the regulations, to address the specific needs of small scale producers.
409 Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will forward a copy of the European milk quota regulations as drafted at European level prior to their being transposed into law from 1995 onwards. [20213/00]
The specific EU Council regulation on milk quotas is (EEC) No. 3950/92. A copy of this regulation, as amended, has been sent to the Deputy.