Union Speaks up Against Milk Imports05 December 2012
SPAIN - A combination of industry collusion, French milk imports and large distributors not behaving fairly to producers has been blamed for not allowing dairy prices to recover by Roman Santella,Livestock Secretary of the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA.)
The UPA has criticized the Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete, saying that he is not doing all he could to help Spanish ranchers and added that large companies in the dairy supply chain are orchestrating a campaign to damage the Spanish livestock sector.
The UPA explained that last week, when farmers held a milk strike in Galicia, that two hundred trucks were coming to Spain from France carrying more than five million litres of liquid milk, "Without any sanitary control by the Spanish authorities."
The UPA argue that Spanish farms are closing up and dairy herds are being put into meat production while French milk, that is not properly tested for sanitary measures is imported into Spain, said Secretary Livestock UPA, Roman Santalla. The organisation has not ruled out that the strikes seen last week in Galicia will be extended elsewhere.
The closure of operations is a fact in our country. In 2006 Spain had 31,062 dairy cattle farms. In March 2012, at the end of last season, that figure had fallen to the 21,729. The UPA have said that the Spanish society must realize the illogic of a situation in which the Spanish industries buy milk in our neighboring countries, paying to 0.37 € / liter, while the Spanish farmers are paid little more than € 0.32.
The UPA has rejected the minister's (Arias Cañete) strategy to save the dairy sector and it is the UPA's belief that Arias Cañete is responsible for the situation of "extreme crisis" faced by farmers.
"Since the signing of the agreement between the government, distribution, industry and employers BDA, we have found that, far from being eliminated sales losses and the use of dairy products as a commercial, have increased."