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European Union support temporary cuts in milk production to tackle low prices


A cow is prepared for milking at a farm in Brittany, western France
A cow is prepared for milking at a farm in Brittany, western France

BRUSSELS - The European Union voiced support on Monday for temporary cuts in milk production by farmers in member states in a bid to reverse the plunge in prices that has shaken the dairy industry.
The European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation bloc, said it would soon send member states the proposal which is required as an emergency exception to rules guaranteeing economic competition.
Overproduction of milk since EU quotas were abolished in April 2015 triggered a collapse in prices.
A combination of factors, including changing dietary habits, slowing Chinese demand and a Russian embargo on Western products in response to sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, has pushed down prices for beef, pork and milk.
Around 100 farmers protested outside as agriculture ministers met just six months after Brussels announced a 500-million-euro ($556 million) emergency package to tackle the crisis.
The European Copa-Cogeca farmers union said immediately after the September crisis ministerial meeting -- where thousands of farmers protested -- the EU aid was nowhere near enough to compensate farmers for the loss of their main export market Russia.

Source:   AFP, 14 March 2016