GLOBAL - In a joint statement last week, European and African farmers appealed to policy-makers on both continents to advocate for fair and responsible solutions to the milk market crisis.
"EU policy-makers must create a crisis instrument that addresses production volume and is binding for all Member States of the European Union," states an appeal by the European Milk Board, the European umbrella organisation for milk producers.
The appeal was also signed by the Initiative to Support Dairy Cattle Herders in Burkina Faso (PASMEP), the National Association of Small Dairies in Burkina Faso (UMPL/B), as well as development cooperation organisations MISEREOR and Germanwatch.
The appeal goes on to state: "Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and West Africa should not be concluded at this point because they would negatively affect our West-African partners, especially their local structures."
In addition to UN World Milk Day on June 1, this statement coincided with an ongoing visit by European dairy farmers to Burkina Faso, accompanied by MISEREOR and Germanwatch. This trip is an opportunity for all participants to get to know the conditions under which milk is produced in Africa.
The signatories to the mentioned appeal urgently call on Germany and Europe to put a stop to the large-scale overproduction of milk in the EU, as this exerts downward pressure on prices worldwide and continues to erode away at the livelihood of farmers.
"Milk producers in Europe and Africa are struggling because of current policies," critiques Wilhelm Thees, rural development expert at MISEREOR.
"In Burkina Faso, it is the women who produce milk. When this source of income is destroyed, a whole social structure collapses as the women have no alternative and thus no income."
Johannes Pfaller, a milk producer from southern Germany and a representative of the European Milk Board on the visit to Burkina Faso, says: "We cannot displace our home-grown problems to Africa. Those who hamper the development of other countries, compromise their own development as well."
Christoph Lutze, a dairy farmer from northern Germany, adds: "In my time in Africa, it has become clear to me that our export-oriented policy is very dangerous for the milk producers here."
TheCattleSite News Desk