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Milk in Greece is 30% more expensive than it is in Western Europe

17 October 2012 / 16:10:48  GRReporter
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Milk in Greece is 30% more expensive than it is in Western Europe. The average price per litre of milk in Greece is 1.50 euro whereas it is 0.89 euro in Germany and the Netherlands and 0.99 euro in Austria, Belgium and Spain.

This is what Greek market analysts to the government of Antonis Samaras have found out, who are currently considering the possibility of a change in the regulatory framework of the dairy industry. The Ministry of Rural Development and Food and the Ministry of Economy share the opinion that if the date of expiration of milk in shops is extended from five to seven days, its price will fall by at least 5%. The ministries stress that the European Union has not legally clarified that member states should regulate the date of expiration of pasteurized milk.

According to government representatives, the five-day limit for the sale of milk after its packaging creates market barriers and further contributes to the high price of the commodity. Following this logic, the government now wants to enable large dairy companies to create conditions to sell milk freely 10 days after it has left the factory.

This caused serious responses from owners of dairy farms. They believe that such a decision will benefit neither consumers, nor farmers. "Milk, in its nature, is a product of short durability. The additional heat and other processing of milk to extend its expiry date will reduce the nutritive value of the milk in the trade network," the president of the association of farmers and milk producers Apostolis Moraitis said after a meeting at the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. He stressed that the prices of milk producers remain relatively high because the cost of production is higher than in Western Europe.

Moraitis said that the prices of feed, fuel, electricity and taxes increase consistently each year, which creates serious problems for dairy factories. Furthermore, Greece is smaller in area in comparison to the majority of these countries and this further limits the competitiveness of local production. "Let us not forget that, unlike Western Europe, Greece has never had a scandalous outbreak such as that of mad cow disease, for example, which shows the general welfare of the sector, the control over the Greek cattle."

The association of farmers and milk producers is adamant that extending the expiry date of milk and dairy products will have disastrous consequences for hundreds of thousands of small farmers and their families who support the industry. Unofficially, breeders in Greece think that large dairy companies are to blame for the coming changes. They are the major players in the market that will benefit the most from the extension of the expiry date of dairy products. They will have fewer losses from unsold goods and therefore, a higher profit margin.

GRReporter contacted the union of the Greek dairy industry to seek the views of the processing companies. After several phone calls to the operating personnel of the union and an official request in writing, we received no response to the issues raised.


Tags: EconomyMarketsMilk productionIndustryPrices
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