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PANDEMIC SPOILS THE MILK MARKET

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Art-CADairy farmers fear they may soon be lumped with rivers of unsold milk as the virus pandemic drastically cuts sales.

Over the past few days, Malta Dairy Products, which provides Benna milk cartons, started sending letters to farmers warning them of worsening demand forecast for the coming months.

Brian Vella affirmed that farmers need support but concedes that, under the EU’s free market state aid rules, this is no easy task.

Brian Vella, who leads Malta’s dairy farm cooperative, said even that, so far, all the supply of milk coming from farms was being taken up but the situation was not looking good for the future.

Sales, he said, are down and the cooperative is holding talks with the government to try and tap some EU funds to help support local farmers.

Peter Agius, a former MEP candidate and advocate for protecting local agriculture, has taken up the farmers’ cause.

In the coming days, he will be writing to the authorities with suggestions on how to assist the industry.

Agius said that although member states cannot promote local over foreign produce, they are allowed to promote consumption of healthy produce.

So, while it would be illegal to promote Maltese milk over, say, that imported from Italy, there is nothing stopping public campaigns promoting the quality of fresh milk products without bringing into the picture their national origin.

 

 

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