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Milk price row escalates

Producers in south pour it down the drain rather than deliver to supermarkets

MILK producers in the Midi-Pyrénées are pouring gallons of it down the drain rather than deliver to supermarkets in the latest stage of a pricing row.

The 30 independent members of Producteurs en Colère in Aveyron hope that their protest will be take up by others in the department and beyond.

They are angry that various milk producing unions had agreed low tariffs with supermarkets – after the government relaxed pricing rules.

The producers are boycotting the Lech Pasqual group which collects milk for supermarkets in the area.

Farmer Francis Azémar poured away 1,500 litres of milk worth €450 or ten days work.

He said that he and other small producers were angry. “We’re not the only ones, the industrial producers are also going to find themselves in trouble,” he added.

Technically the milk is poured into the septic tank as it is considered a pollutant and cannot go into the water system. It can later be used as organic fertiliser.

Spokesman Pascal Massol said the supermarkets were creating an impossible financial situation.

“They want to impose on us €30 (per 1,000 litres) but continue all the same to make their living with our milk,” said Mr Massol.

The Leche Pasqual group usually collects 25,000 litres per day in Aveyron.

Photo:AFP/DDP Nigel Treblin

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