Milk producers blocked access to several processing plants yesterday (20 October) protesting against price cut proposals from French dairy companies.

Around 150 dairy farmers blocked Lactalis' yogurt-making plant at Andrézieux-Bouthéon, near St Etienne. Three other plants, located in the Lyon region and operated by Danone, Sodiaal and Guilloteau, were also the focus of demonstrations. 

A spokesperson for France's milk producers' federation, the FNPL, told just-food that action was set to continue indefinitely, short of a new offer from the dairy companies.

The FNPL is boycotting a meeting today at which milk prices are to be discussed, the spokesperson said.

"At the last two meetings our demands have fallen on deaf ears and we have no indication that they [dairy processors] are going to put a new deal on the table today so we don't see any point in attending."

French dairy companies have proposed cuts of between EUR40 (US$54.37) and EUR70 per 1,000 litres in the fourth quarter of 2008 and further cuts of between EUR100 and EUR120 per 1,000 litres in the first quarter of 2009.

A spokesperson for one dairy group told just-food that he would be surprised if the sector would be improving its offer to producers. "Given current market conditions, we  can't do more on prices. Between the final quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2008, prices have increased something like 26%."