Slovak milk producers call on EU to intervene

SLOVAKIA perceives a €500-million package of measures announced by the European Commission on September 7 to provide relief for farmers stung by slumping prices as not ambitious enough.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SITA)

Some hundreds of Slovak farmers gathered in Bratislava to show their dissatisfaction with the EU milk policy.

“Who has the courage to go out among protesting farmers and read them this vision about solutions?” said Slovak Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek attending an emergency meeting of the EU‘s Agriculture Council in Brussels as cited by the TASR newswire.

According to Jahnátek, the package does not solve current problems of producers of raw milk or milk processors.

Read also:Slovak milk producers to protest in Brussels Read more 

The Russian embargo and weakening demand from China in combination with cancellation of milk quotas has resulted in a milk surplus on the market and a drop in raw milk prices.

Slovak farmers and milk processors in Slovakia are affected by this situation too when the average price of raw milk decreased to 26 cents per kilogram in July, a five-year low. The average price in the EU is about 29 cents per kilogram, Michaela Kroková from the Slovak Agriculture Ministry said as cited by TASR.

Some hundreds of Slovak farmers and milk processors gathered in Bratislava to bemoan their situation which they consider critical.   

“It is a result of political decisions by the EU, especially cancellation of milk quotas and introduction of the Russian embargo,” said Alexander Pastorek, the Association of Primary Milk Producers in Slovakia (SZPM) in his speech at the rally as cited by the SITA newswire.

According to Pastorek, the critical situation endangers about 570 local companies for production and processing of milk.

“Primary milk producers are incurring losses from milk production that can be already counted in tens of millions of euros,” said Pastorek.

The rally’s participants call on the EU to compensate primary milk producers for losses caused by a deep drop in raw milk prices, introduce regulation of milk supplies during the crisis on the market, set the minimum raw milk price equalling 70 percent of average justified production costs in the EU as well as re-introduce export subsidies, among others. 

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