The French livestock show SPACE in Rennes, France, kicked off yesterday with a large number of visitors. Among them, about 250 dairy farmers took the opportunity of the show their anger and frustration about the low milk prices in France.
The SPACE show always tries to be a place where farmers come together and can discuss current crises in the industry. At the moment we see, of course, the financial crisis, the continuing slump in the pig industry, persisting problems in the beef industry and a number of areas of the poultry sector. These are now joined by a crisis in dairying with the sudden fall in the milk price, which has caused considerable commotion and disquiet in the sector.
The large amount of French farmers were particularly drawn to Rennes because the French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire was present at the first day and was willing to say a few words about the milk crisis. Le Maire told the press that the French government is teaming up with the German collegues to propose changes to European dairy market rules. He said an extra of €30 million will be dedicated to solve the drastic situation for the farmers.
World demand for dairy products has fallen over the past year and milk producer prices have plummeted. The European Commission has responded to the crisis with additional funding and the reintroduction of export subsidies.
The SPACE attracted a lot of press with this protest, but the organisation hopes that the coming few days of the show will be more focused on the poultry innovations.