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Dairy industry says it's on the verge of collapse

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Dairy industry says it's on the verge of collapse
Eh? Moo? Photo: DPA
09:00 CET+01:00
The dairy industry in Germany is on the verge of collapse, President of the German dairy farmer's federation (BDM), Romuald Schaber, told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Friday.

The situation is as "precarious" as it was before dairy farmers staged massive strikes over the summer to demand higher prices for their goods, he said.

"If the litre price of milk falls to 25 cents, then there will be dramatic months ahead," Schauber told the paper. "We estimate that there would be a collapse of the milk market."

Many dairy farms, regardless of their size, would likely go bankrupt, he said.

Schaber told the paper he suspects there is a "strategy behind all this to possibly kick dairy farmers out of the equation," adding that he gets the impression that the goal of the EU is to "lower prices and ruin dairy farmers."

The BDM is resisting the German Antitrust Agency, which has threatened dairy farmers with fines for violation of antitrust laws if they stage further strikes and delivery boycotts.

"A delivery stoppage is not in the works, but we can't rule anything out," Schaber told the paper.

The BDM staged a 10-day delivery strike beginning on May 27 to protest prices they said were too low to support their costs. Prices were between €0.27 to €0.35 per litre. Farmers openly threw surplus milk down drains, fed it to their calves, or spread it over crops. Meanwhile some consumers had difficulty finding milk on grocery store shelves.

The strike ended when major German grocery chains Lidl, Rewe, Netto and Plus agreed to raise prices.

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