Government-backed negotiations between French dairy farmers and processors will take place tomorrow (28 May) in a bid to end the standoff over farm-gate milk prices.

Over the past week, French dairy farmers have blockaded processing facilities and staged protests outside supermarkets and government buildings to remonstrate the falling price paid for raw milk.   

According to the FNPL, there has been a 30% fall in the price of milk during the second quarter of the year, despite rising on-farm input costs.

“Between 2007 and 2008, farm operating costs increased around 15%, so an increase in the milk price was indispensable. These costs increased again in 2009,” a spokesperson for the milk producers’ federation, the FNPL, told just-food.

“The prices of dairy products sold in hypermarkets did not fall so the dairy companies and the hypermarkets are made of beautiful margins. We think that [the price of] dairy products sold in hypermarkets does not have to fall because consumption remains, but dairy companies have to pay dairy farmers much better.”

Dairy farmers are asking for an average annual price of around EUR300 (US$419) per 1,000 litres of milk, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that the FNPL was “hopeful” that the negotiations would be constructive. However, she added: “We do not know if a single meeting will be sufficient.”