SPAIN - In a protest against low prices that do not cover production costs, the Galicia region has seen its first ever milk strike which commenced at 00:00pm November 27.
The Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers, Galicia Young Farmers and the Galician Small Farmers Union have all said they will cooperate to ensure Galician milk processing is totally paralysed. This is hoped to attract the government's attention to the low milk prices producers are getting.
Spain sees 17.3 million litres of liquid milk go through dairies everyday, of which 38 per cent comes from Galicia. The message from the farming community is desperate times call for desperate measures.
For several months Spanish dairy farmers have been paid the lowest price for their milk in the whole of Europe whilst German and French milk is crossing into Spain at a higher price
The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, empathises with the farmers in Galicia as they produce the best quality milk but receive the lowest prices for it. The strength of dairying in the region means that the farmers there have greater lobbying power, he added.
"There are not "powerful" producers nor big cooperatives in Galicia since Feiraco, one of the most important (companies), has a turnover of 145 million euros whereas other cooperatives in Sweden reach 7,000 million euros. That's why he asked the producers to look for integration through the milk decree, which allows them to concentrate the offer up to 30 per cent," Mr Cañete emphasised.
Although the intention is to give farmers keep producing milk their cows to people in need, logistical difficulties could lead to having to pull the production by the inability to store.
The Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers have assured that the aim of this strikeis not to damage the marketplace and deprive consumers but to draw attention to what is happening with the production sector due to prices that are 8 - 10 cents / liter below the production costs.
TheCattleSite News Desk