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May 30, 2008

NETHERLANDS: Dutch farmers join milk price protests

Dutch farmers have launched a strike in protest against low milk prices in the Netherlands, echoing moves from German farmers who took industrial action earlier this week.

Dutch farmers have launched a strike in protest against low milk prices in the Netherlands, echoing moves from German farmers who took industrial action earlier this week.

The 4,500-strong Dutch Dairymen Board has refused to deliver milk to processors and blockaded a factory operated by Friesland Foods.

Members of the Board supply about 30% of the Netherlands’ milk.

“We are refusing to supply milk because we must demonstrate that we are not being paid enough,” a spokesperson for the Board told just-food. “Dairy farmers are facing losing their homes and livelihoods because they are not making enough money to break even. Costs are increasing and the price of milk is dropping: this is not sustainable for us.”

The Dairymen Board has estimated that the cost of producing a kilogram of milk solids is EUR0.45 (US$0.70) and the price paid for a kilogram of milk solids is EUR0.30 to EUR0.35.

Friesland, one of the Boards largest customers, told just-food that it does not plan to negotiate with the farmers.

“Prices are determined by the dynamics if supply and demand,” the company said.

The Dutch dairy farmers have also blocked entry to a DOC Kaas cheese manufacturing facility in Hoogeveen.

In a statement, DOC Kass said that it is doing everything possible to counter rising production costs and decreasing milk prices. However, the company added that it remains dependent on developments in the global dairy market.

Low milk prices have also prompted farmers in Germany to strike for higher prices.

Meanwhile, in France, farmers have threatened to blockade dairies attempting to divert milk to Germany.

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