Wednesday, 3 May 2023, 23:19
Around 400,000 litres of milk a day will be lost unless a new price agreement is reached with a major buyer, Andalusian farmers have estimated.
Milk producers in provinces such as Seville, Malaga and Granada have already started to discard milk as the Lactalis Group dropped its prices by nine cents per litre, accusing the French dairy giant of "coercion".
The move has already seen the loss of 400,000 litres per day since last Monday 24 May, and is expected to continue until an agreement is reached with the French company.
This was detaied to Europa Press by sources from COAG (coordinating committee of farmers' and ranchers' organisations) which held a meeting on Tuesday 2 May in Seville to address joint protest actions.
Lactalis Puleva is a subsiduary of Lactalis Group and headquartered in Granada.
COAG Andalucía, in a statement, said farmers had been "forced to throw away the day's production because Puleva has not collected the milk, thus pressuring them to give in to the imposition of lowering the payment at source by nine cents per litre".
COAG estimated losses per farmer of 20,000 euros per month, "which is undoubtedly unaffordable for farmers, who are heavily indebted in order to maintain quality requirements and be competitive".
Farmers also had it tough as they were continuing to deal with rising production costs due to the war in Ukraine, and the drought.
Andalusian farmers decided to "continue to throw away the milk that Puleva is not collecting from them, until it rectifies its position and this industrial giant sits down to negotiate and offers a contract with a decent price, which covers production costs" and allows farmers "to have a minimum return for their work".
They called on the Ministry of Agriculture "not to allow this type of pressure from the industry on producers to go unpunished". COAG Andalucía's head of livestock Antonio Rodriguez also demanded that the government "as soon as possible, intervene in this conflict and cut this dramatic situation for farmers".
Among the producers who had already thrown their milk down the drain was Antonio Casas, from Moraleda de Zafayona, who said "unfortunately" farmers had to make this decision because the multinational "forces" them to "sign a totally abusive contract".
The Lactalis Group stated in a press release that, after weeks of negotiations and two modifications to the milk purchase offers proposed to the company's partner farms in Andalucía, which "exceed the average price of milk at source in Europe and Spain", it has not been possible to reach an agreement with some of them for the next three months.
In the current context of reduced consumption of dairy products in Spain and at a time when the price of milk at source in Andalucía "is above the European average and the rest of Spain", the Lactalis proposals, the company stressed, "seek to gradually adjust the price of milk on the farms to suit the Spanish and European market".
Finally, the Lactalis Group said it had been working for decades with Andalusian dairy farmers and hoped to reach an outcome "as soon as possible".
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