France MilkBoard Expands

FRANCE - As milk producers and companies in France are now obliged by law to conclude contracts, the expansion of a producer organisation like France MilkBoard is even more important, writes Paul de Montvalont from the Office du Lait.
calendar icon 11 June 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

France MilkBoard’s primary objective is to become an independent, sectoral organisation: independent not only of the dairies but also of the biggest farmers’ union in France, FNSEA, whose priority is quite obviously no longer defending the producers’ interests; sectoral to prevent a repetition of such a devastating situation as Switzerland is currently experiencing and the competition between companies inevitably being at the expense of the producers.

France MilkBoard combines three unions and organisations: APLI, OPL and, only recently, the Confédération Paysanne. France MilkBoard’s objective is a fair price achieved by systematic supply management and taking into account the real production costs and remuneration for labour on a national level. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that a sustainable solution must include the creation of a European organisation in which France MilkBoard would be fully integrated.

France MilkBoard’s strategy can be summarised in two expressions: protest and proposals. Despite the pressure/threats from the industry in its attempts to force the producers to join its associations and sign its one-sided contracts, France MilkBoard is continuing its campaign to convince farmers at their farm gates to come on board.

In tandem, however, there are ongoing negotiations with the private companies to find out on which points there is agreement and where opinions differ. There are no negotiations with co-operatives at present, as their members in France are precluded from uniting in producer organisations.

There would seem to be many points on which agreement would be possible. However, negotiations on the prices milk producers require usually end up in lack of understanding and conflicts. So an amicable solution to the milk problem would be difficult if not impossible. Unless the politicians assume their responsibility soon, another way will have to be found to solve this problem.

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