The first quarter of 2016 saw a 54% increase in quantity of milk imported by Romania, as compared to the same period last year.
The net quantity of milk Romania imported in the
first quarter of 2016 went up by 54% as compared to the similar period in 2015,
totaling 38,120 tons, according to the National Statistics Institute. In March 2016, the quantity of imported
milk was 62% bigger than in March 2015,
totaling 12,700 tons, showing an upward trend in imports. From the domestic
market, in the first quarter of 2016, processing units collected 220 thousand
tons of milk, that is 9% more than in the same period last year.
on that, here is the President of the Cattle Breeders' Federation Claudiu
situation that occurred in Europe after milk quotas were abolished as of March
31st, many farmers from the countries with a well-established
tradition in milk production, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, France and
Denmark predicted a significant increase in domestic milk production. If we
take into account the context in which milk quotas were abolished, and let us
not forget the sanctions against Russia, all that put a tremendous amount of
pressure on the milk market across the European Union. And that had a strong
bearing on Romanian farmers as well, in an indirect way, because the
aforementioned member states, being confronted with a super production of milk,
the tremendous amount of pressure caused by the remaining production in Europe
had to somehow resurface somewhere. The production as such mainly resurfaced
towards Romania and the countries whose milk sector was way too feeble and
chaotic, which lead to a dramatic drop in the farm gate price of raw milk."
Claudiu Franc also made
some predictions about what was going to happen on the market.
drop in the production of milk will surely be achieved by encouraging farmers
not to increase their livestock, but on the contrary, to reduce it. This is how
the issue will be tackled in the EU member countries. Another measure targeting
the milk sector is that of private storage, which is very likely to double.
Storing the milk as skimmed milk powder, butter, pressed cheese and so on, is
sure to cause a lower amount of pressure on the market. Through that mechanism,
we hope to also ease pressure on the Romanian market, by reducing the volumes of
milk purchased by means of intra-community trade, because if we do that, the
price in those countries will automatically grow, enabling us, Romanian
farmers, to sell our milk for a price closer to production costs."
Claudiu Franc also spoke
about current market prices.
"If in the
spring of 2014 the farm gate price
stood at around 1 leu and 25 bani, that is 27 to 33 eurocents, with a 24% VAT,
in April 2015 the same price stood somewhere between 80 bani and 1 leu, that is
17 to 22 eurocents. The VAT was reduced to 9%, while the shelf price in shops
remained the same, approximately 1 Euro. At the moment, in Romania milk sells
for a price between 40 bani and 1 leu and 30 bani, that is between 8 and 28
eurocents per litre with the very big farmers, so the average price at national
level stands somewhere around 70-80 bani per litre, that is between 15 and 18
eurocents, while the shelf price stays the same. Along this chain, someone
makes a big gain, at the expense of the Romanian farmers. No wonder then, and
again I have statistical data in mind, that at the end of last year, 2015, the
number of cattle in Romania went down by 30%, while in the first two and a half
months, we had to cut another 30%."
In turn, the president of
the "New Farm" Cattle Farmers' Association Cornel Costeliuc explained how the
number of animals was declining due to an increase in fodder price, but also
because the price offered by processors stood at half of that required to cover
the expenses. Imported milk and dairy products, on the other hand, are cheaper.
Although financial aid is important for growers' associations, there is still a
lot of reluctance among small farmers, who oftentimes cannot make any sense of
the legislation in the field, Cornel Costeliuc also said.
Cornel Costeliuc: "Farmers
would need consultancy on how to interpret the legislation, and that does not
exist at all. We would like the Agriculture Directorate to get more involved in
all that. We lack Agriculture Chambers, which are still not operational in the
rural areas. We need consultancy, for farmers to understand what this is all
about, to understand the advantages of becoming part of a cooperative, an
association. But you see, we have constantly failed in our attempt to set up a
strong Agriculture Chamber, capable of offering consultancy, of giving a
piece of advice to the peasant, the farmer, as regards what they are supposed
to do next."
As for the officials of
the Agriculture Ministry, they say a solution needs to be found, jointly with
the European executive, so that subsidies can be granted for the collection of
milk. According to the same Ministry officials, "the EU market is facing a
crisis, which is felt stronger by Romania due to the competitiveness gap
between Romanian producers and those in the west. The shelf price is one of the
highest across the European Union, but milk from producers is very cheap".