Eastern European countries need dairy investment

Related tags European union Eu

The 10 soon-to-be member states of the EU need to invest in the
dairy sector in order for the states to be in line with EU
standards by 1 May 2004, the date of accession.

This is the conclusion drawn from many in the industry, including the Young Farmers Club Of Ulster (YFCU) as part of its Programme For Exchange Of Young Farmers (PEJA), that has just carried out a visit to Hungary that was financed by the EU Commission.

The group has concluded that processing plants are investing money in order for them to be brought up to EU standards, but this may be too little too late. The group believes that massive capital injections will be needed in the near future for these plants.

The country has a 1.9 billion litre milk production quota for the year. And 200 million litres are exported each year. These figures are relatively small compared to French and German production. However, Hungarian producers claims that the country's lack of imports are caused by the prohibitive subsidies by the EU member countries.

This week, the trend which is somewhat of a microcosm of the state of affairs with the accession states in Eastern Europe has seen 3.8 million Leva (€1.5m) invested into the modern milk-processing factory, Bulgarian Cheese in Haskovo. This investment was financed by the Special Accession Programme For Agricultural and Rural Development (SAPARD).

A marketing and sales expert, Delyana Ivanova told a Focus-fen.net reporterThe company needs to invest money to improve the quality of its production of yellow cheese, yoghurt, white butter and pot cheese. Next year the factory will invest in the creation of family farms in order to improve the quality of milk.

Media reports suggest that some Eastern European countries' dairy industies may be threatened when the states join the EU. Commentators fear that in Eastern Europe in order for standards to be met, production plants will be sold or bought out.

The European Commission spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said, "Those establishments that do not meet EU standards will not be able to sell their products in the EU"​ However, some commentators claim that these states have been more heavily scrutinised that states than are already members.

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