Dairy industry

New measures are in place to help farmers through the recession as milk prices tumble.

Just days after European dairy farmers staged demonstrations protesting over falling milk prices, the EU has moved to reassure the industry that it is doing all it can to support farmers and stabilise the market.

Two factors are responsible: a fall in demand due to the global downturn and an increase in production by countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.

Recognising early on that supply was far exceeding demand, the EU launched support measures.

Private storage for surplus butter started two months earlier than usual, in January. At the end of June, 105, 800 tonnes were already in storage.

And export refunds – allowing the EU to sell products at prices competitive worldwide – were re-instated for all dairy products.

Other initiatives, outlined in a report on the dairy market, have included buying surplus butter and boosting the school milk scheme so that more schools begin providing milk and other dairy products to pupils.