28 Sep 2015

EU farmers keep up pressure over low milk prices

8:32 am on 28 September 2015

Farmers in the European Union are continuing to put pressure on their commissioner for agriculture and rural development to do something about low milk prices.

A demonstrator faces anti-riot policemen during a demonstration of farmers in front of the European Commission building on 7 September, 2015, in Brussels.

A demonstrator faces anti-riot policemen during a demonstration of farmers in front of the European Commission building on 7 September, 2015, in Brussels. Photo: AFP

Earlier this month thousands of farmers drove tractors into the centre of Brussels, sounding their horns and setting off fireworks, protesting the price they were paid for milk.

Agricultural journalist James Campbell told Country Life the mood of Irish dairy farmers was increasingly militant with northern Irish farmers marching up to their Parliament last week.

But Mr Campbell said the commissioner for agriculture and rural development, who is an Irishman, Phil Hogan, was not budging on changing prices.

"He's under quite a bit of pressure to do something about the milk price, but he has been remaining very steadfast and not improving the intervention price and not raising that price and he's getting quite a lot of flack from it, but I think he is taking the view that if we do anything to underpin the market too strongly then it'll send the wrong signal.

"So he is saying you have to go through a period of bad prices therefore don't go producing too much, keep supply in check," said Mr Campbell.

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