SLOVAK farmers have been protesting against the purchase prices for milk being offered by processing companies. On December 9, about 200 milk producers from around Slovakia gathered in front of the Rajo dairy in Bratislava and in a protest action poured milk into dung-filled trailers, the Sme daily wrote.
“I never thought I would live to see what we are planning to do now,” Vladimír Chovan, chairman of the Slovak Association of Primary Producers of Milk (SZPM), said before the farmers poured away the milk. “In protest we will leave the excess milk where, according to the processors, it belongs – in the dung,” said Chovan as quoted by the daily.
The milk producers selected Rajo as the site for their protest because, as the market leader, it set a price of Sk8.1 per litre of milk for farmers in November.
Prices offered by some processors to farmers fell to Sk7 per litre in November. In January this year the price was over Sk12.
“This is a horrible situation, because the production costs of milk are between Sk10 (€0.33) and Sk12 (€0.40),” said Chovan as quoted by the ČTK newswire.
The association does not want to set the exact milk price. “The market will generate the price, but it cannot swing,” said Chovan. He proposes negotiations between producers, traders and the government. He believes the government should start regulating the milk price.
Chovan identified measures taken by the European Commission (EC) as the main reason behind large price swings in the milk market. The EC continues to set national milk production quotas in individual EU member states, but has stopped intervening to buy up any excess.