The impact of poor milk price across the EU is having a negative impact on dairy farmers and this situation continues to deteriorate, according to the President of the European Milk Board (EMB).

In an open letter written to the President of the European Commission, the EMB President Romuald Schaber criticised how this issue has been dealt with to date by Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“The situation of European dairy farms deteriorates every day. For months now, farm-gate milk prices in many countries have been only 25 and 30c/kg, while it has been proven that production costs are higher than 40c/kg.”

He added that this has occurred due to the imbalance between supply and demand and this has forced some farmers to go broke while others are borrowing money to continue to produce milk below cost.

In this letter, he was critical of the performance of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.

He said that Commissioner Hogan continues to ignore this issue and he further questioned his capabilities to find a solution to the issue of low milk price.

“At the last Agriculture Council, Commissioner Hogan spoke again about a stabilisation of the milk market.

This was just yet another statement in a series of comments that make us doubt that Phil Hogan really wants to find a solution and whether he is capable of doing so.

He also quoted Commissioner Hogan as saying that not many farmers are producing milk below cost and if they were they would stop producing milk.

Such declarations are not in line with the reality of the market and show the Commissioner’s lack of expertise in the field of agriculture.

“As a matter of fact, Commissioner Hogan has access to several scientific studies, which prove that generally farmers do not receive a milk price that allows them to cover their cost of production,” he said.

According to Schaber, milk production can not be compared to any other industry as dairy farmers are virtually obliged to maintain milk production.

Milk is simply not comparable to regular industrial products, whose production can just be halted one day and started again the following one.

He added that the current negative trend is dangerous for agriculture in the EU and interactions between market players need to be based on fairness and responsibility.

In this letter, he also said that it is the responsibility of Commissioner Hogan to ensure these interactions are fair.

“In order to assure this, the Commissioner for agriculture needs to have the right instinct and sensitivity, virtues that Mister Hogan lacks.

“Phil Hogan does not have any solutions, nor does he want any! He however has displayed well enough his professional incompetence and his disregard for farmers.”

This is why we as representatives of European dairy farmers, call you to act accordingly: Mr President, remove this incompetent Commissioner from his office!

The President of the EMB was also critical of the short-term measures introduced by the European Commission to resolve the problem of low milk price.

“The price volatility of the last years also showed: short-term financial aid does nothing to change the essence of the problem!

Therefore, we call you to seriously study the crisis instrument put forward by the EMB and other organisations, which is based on voluntary production cuts.