In an open letter to Prime Minister António Costa, APROLEP, the Association of Milk Producers of Portugal, states that Portugal occupies the last place among 27 member states, with the lowest price of milk in production: 29.9 cents per kg of milk, and for that reason they ask for urgent intervention from the Government.
“Last May, we wrote an open letter to the Minister of Agriculture and to various entities that intervene in the dairy sector. To date, we have not had any response from the Government”, write the milk producers.
APROLEP says that at the time they realised that Portuguese milk producers had the worst milk price in Europe in March, only 29.9 cents per kg of milk, five cents below the EU average.
“Today, with data updated by the European Milk Observatory, we know that we continued in April with the worst price in Europe and with the difference aggravated to 5.4 cents below the community average. In May, the difference will have increased to 5.6 cents”, says the letter.
APROLEP considers it a great “shame” that Portugal occupies the last place among 27 member states, with “miserable prices”, when Portugal presides over the European Union.
The producers explain that the necessary cereals and raw materials that they have to buy to balance the feeding of the animals have risen, with no prospect of falling in the short term, and this has caused an increase in the cost of production of around three cents per litre.
“Our margins were already very low before this increase, because we received the same price 20 years ago and we supported increases in the cost of energy, labour and all factors of production. We have already been notified of new increases in the cost of feed for the coming months”, say the producers.
Because of these reasons the producers have stated that they may be forced to take direct action.
“Will we have to put tractors on the street, outside factories, supermarkets or the Assembly of the Republic? Will we have to go on a hunger strike so that our sector is given the attention it needs right now? We urgently need an increase of five cents per litre of milk”, they conclude.