Lactalis warned French milk prices would be higher than neighbouring countries

Lactalis warned French milk prices would be higher than neighbouring countries

A fresh dispute is simmering over milk prices in France with dairy groups calling for a new method to be employed to calculate indices to take into account prices in other EU states.

A deal signed in June between processors and farmers set out plans to increase milk prices by 3-8% in the first quarter of 2010 – and by 5.7% in the second quarter of the year.

However, pointing to low milk prices in Germany, French dairy processors, represented by the Fédération Nationale des Industries Laitières (FNIL), said the June deal was no longer pertinent and insisted it would not support the hike in the second quarter.

“We must bring our prices into line with those in Germany immediately,” the FNIL said.

The June deal ended weeks of protests and blockades but Lactalis warned then that prices in France would be higher than in Germany and the Netherlands.

The French milk producers federation (FNPL) called the FNIL’s stance“provocation”, argued there is no reason to question the agreement and warned that processing plants could be blocked.

Farmers argue that the gap between prices in France and Germany has narrowed in 2010, adding that French dairy groups sell a “markedly better” standard of product, such as high-quality cheese.