Walloon dairy farmers give talks a chance

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Representatives of the Walloon milk producers are holding off protest actions and hoping to reach a solution through talks instead.

2 June 2008

WALLONIA - Representatives of the Walloon milk producers have agreed to try to resolve the problem of falling milk prices with talks first.

They discussed the crisis of falling milk prices on Sunday evening and decided to postpone protest actions.

Thousands of dairy farmers in several EU countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, have protested recently over dramatic falls in local milk prices.

They blame the price drop on an EU decision made in April to raise national milk production quotas by 2 percent.

The European Commission last week proposed gradual rises in milk production quotas before the subsidised scheme expires in 2015 as part of the EU's 2003 major farm reform.

For this year the EU decided to raise national milk production quotas by 2 percent, resulting in the price of milk dropped slightly.

The Walloon dairy farmers, backed by the Belgian Farmers' Union, are holding off protest action for the moment, hoping to negotiate a solution to the problem

Farmers in the German-speaking East Cantons in Belgium held protest actions last week.
According to experts at the European Commission average EU milk prices are still higher than in 2007.

However, it is the margin that must be looked at, with the price of feed, fertilizer and energy also rising. The recent milk protests strongly indicate that the milk production margins are in fact shrinking, while consumers see the price of milk increasing.

[flandersnews.be / Expatica]

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