European dairy farmers were demonstrating outside the European Institutions in Brussels today. They have been complaining for more than a year that they are forced to sell their milk for less than it costs to produce and blame the dismantling of the quota system for low prices.
Said Willem Smeenk, union leader: “45 cents per litre while prices paid for the milk are about 20-30 cents. So every litre we produce, we lose money.”
Meanwhile today agriculture ministers were meeting to discuss the issue. In a bid to restore confidence among milk producers, they pledged to come up with proposals to revamp dairy competition laws, and strengthen the negotiating power of farmers by the end of the year.
Said Sabine Laruelle, Belgian agriculture minister: Everyone, all our colleagues in Europe have recognised that we have to do something to make the diary sector more competitive, a majority agree it is necessary to reinforce the negotiating power of the farmers.”
But outside, the farmers didn’t seem convinced – and the dairy demos are likely to continue.