A chance for the EU to amend bad policies in the milk sector

logo-eurovia.pngNovember 18,  2015

 Dear Ministers,

As the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU is set to meet this November 16 in Brussels, European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) would like to, once more, bring to your attention, our deep concern over the situation of the European dairy sector in this serious and unprecedented crisis which will destroy the economy in many rural areas. Among other things, this is caused by a loosening of market regulations, of which the removal of EU milk quotas stands out.

After the new measures package was released by the Council and the Commission following the meeting held last September 7, the situation of the dairy sector is still critical all over Europe due to the low milk prices that the producers are faced with. The industry’s pressure for low prices on the one hand, and European distribution on the other, is leading towards the disappearance of the model of production which best fulfils the needs of the European citizens in regards to food quality and safety, animal welfare, environmental protection, and maintaining the countryside.

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Open letter – Milk Powder in favour of real milk to produce healthy dairy products

Brussels, 2 November 2015logo-eurovia.png

Mr. Phil Hogan

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

European Commission

B-1049 Brussels

Open letter – Milk Powder in favour of real milk to produce healthy dairy products

Dear Commissioner Hogan,

Since 1974, before the establishment of the Single CMO, law 138 has been in force in Italy, prohibiting the reconstitution of milk for human consumption. In short, the law prohibits the use of milk powder for the production of cheese and other derivatives. In May 2015 the European Commission asked the Italian authorities to change this law, claiming that it creates a distortion of the market. At the end of September, the Italian government rejected the European request and announced its intention to maintain the current legislation, asserting that it does not distort the market because it restricts the production, not the trade, of products made with powdered milk on the Italian territory.

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The milk crises of 2015: India

Press release: The milk crises of 2015 – a dialogue of farmers’ movements October 21, 2015

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-11-03-India_milk_crises.jpg(Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, October 22, 2015) Farmer leaders from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Food Sovereignty Alliance (FSA), Karnataka Rajya Ryatha Sangha (KRRS), South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements (SICCFM), Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements (ICCFM), Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam and the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, participated in a dialogue on the ongoing milk crises confronting small and marginal dairy farmers across India. The Food Sovereignty Alliance (FSA) convened this dialogue in Chennai, on October 21, 2015, to chalk out a collective strategy to protect the livelihoods of  small and marginal dairy farmers and people’s milk markets (commonly referred to as the “informal” or “unorganised” dairy sector).

A price war is raging between dairy processors (cooperatives and private companies) of the organised dairy sector, to sell milk to consumers at extremely low prices in urban centres. This has been accompanied by a steep reduction in milk procurement prices paid to farmers by dairy processors and the volume of milk procured by them. The current procurement prices, are far below the production costs incurred by farmers, thus driving them into ever deepening debt. Small and marginal farmers, whose livelihoods depend on selling milk and who are the backbone of the milk market, have been hardest hit. This has also severely affected the people’s milk markets.

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Small grains are an important food crop, says Miss Mutema

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-17_October_Zimsoff.JPG(Harare, October 19, 2015) Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) participated in the 2015 Traditional and Organic Food and Seed Festival held in Harare on October 17th. Over 12 ZIMSOFF farmers participated in the festival to showcase farmer saved seeds, and to exchange information with other farmers and create awareness among urban consumers on traditional foods and seeds. Memory Mutema, a young woman farmer from Chieha Smallholder Farmers Organisation in the eastern cluster is one of the farmers who participated this year. She grows small grains to feed her family and to earn an income. "Small grains are an important food crop," says Miss Mutema.

In Zimbabwe, women play a key role in ensuring household and national food sovereignty. They produce over 70% of diverse agricultural food crops consumed nationally. Small grains are part of these food crops. They don’t require the use of agro-chemicals and fertilisers and most are drought resistant. Thus small grains are considered an ideal food crop to build resilience as we adapt to a changing climate.

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