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Low milk prices spark protests

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 02:05

July 11 - Dairy farmers across Europe fight back over cuts to the cost they are paid for their milk saying it will drive them out of business and increase prices for consumers in the long run. Hayley Platt reports.

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Dairy Farmers across Britain marched to Westminister, London in protest over milk prices. Three of the industries leading processors plan to cut the price they'll pay farmers by 2 pence per litre in August. They blame rising commodity prices. But farmers say the latest round of cuts could put them out of business. SOUNDBITE: Chris Hutchinson, dairy farmer from Derbyshire, swaying (English) "We're going to be losing fast amounts of money every day if these milk price cuts are implemented and no business can carry on losing money every day." SOUNDBITE: John, dairy farmer from The Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, saying (English): "We milk the cows and the supermarkets are milking us and we just can't put up with it any longer." Unions say it's now costing farmers more to produce a litre of milk than they're being paid. And it's not just British diary farmers with a beef over milk prices. A day earlier, farmers across Europe including Belgium, Italy Germany and Ireland took their argument to the European Parliament in Brussels. One farmer said he'd rather pour his milk down the drain than sell it for zero profit. Irish dairy farmer John Comer agrees. SOUNDBITE: John Comer, diary farmer, saying (English): "Unless there are policies put in place at European level, then it will not sustain itself into the future." The European Milk Board says the problem lies with surplus production. With the livelihood of thousands of farmers in the balance, European Milk Board President Romuald Schaber says its time for action. (SOUNDBITE) (German) EUROPEAN MILK BOARD PRESIDENT ROMUALD SCHABER SAYING: "Our demand is a program for a voluntary delivery cut to be implemented in Europe, which means producers can come forward to voluntarily produce less. So we will have two or maybe three percent less milk on the market and then prices can go up again." Schaber also wants to see a European monitoring agency set-up to help control supply and demand. He says if production isn't properly controlled, the survival of farms cannot be guaranteed. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Low milk prices spark protests

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 02:05