‘Fair Trade’ milk soon a euro reality, says farmers’ group

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European dairy farmers

A ‘Fair Trade’-style certification for European milk prices, designed to cover farmer cost, will soon making its way across EU member states, according to a leading farmers association.

The European Milk Board (EMB), a lobby group representing dairy farmers across the EU, said yesterday that certified ‘Fair Milk’, already on retail shelves in Austria would soon be making its way across Europe.

The announcement was made at a press conference hosted by the EMB, which outlined the group’s claims that a growing number of European dairy farmers are uniting in their desire to obtain milk prices favouring the producer and consumers.

Strike action

Farmers’ groups last year took part in a number of strikes in the bloc to outline what they said were concerns over meeting rising production costs in their operations.

Following on from the European Commision’s decision to raise milk production quotas by two per cent last November, the EMB claims farmers have continued to suffer.

Sieta van Keimpema, vice president of the association said that the decision had served to knock supply and demand for European milk completely out of balance.

In many European regions, prices paid to producers have​already slipped well below the €0.30 cent,”​ statedvan Keimpema. “This poses an acute threat to the milk producers’ livelihood.”

‘Fair Milk’

It is in this market that the EMB claimed that the Austrian model of certified ‘Fair Milk’, which is labelled with a special logo, would inform consumers that a farmer had received pay designed to meet their costs.

The association’s president,Romuald Schaber,​said that the attempt by European politicians to make the dairy industry in the bloc less reliant on intervention measures like subsidies was not helping the European dairy industry.

“The prime motivation behind it is to increase the EU’s share of exports,”​ he stated. “Every government’s aim must be to ensure supply to the population of locally produced high quality dairy produce.”

In light of the current global economic downturn, some of Europe’s leading processors have said that they too are being put under immense cost pressure, which would have to be passed on through the industry.

Arla Foods, which operates across Europe from Scandinavia to the UK, said that the economic downturn had forced it to tighten its budget, reducing farmer payouts to 232.4 Danish øre (€0.31)​per kg of milk as of 1 January.

Related topics: Markets, Fresh Milk

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