AGRICULTURE ECONOMY INDUSTRY

Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu opens his eyes: Price of Polish and Hungarian milk, “strangely” low

Romania will look into the way Poland and Hungary, sources of significant milk imports, offer subsidies for the production of milk, considering that the price of imported milk is “very strange,” being smaller than the price reported to the European Commission, Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu stated on ProTV on Sunday.

The European milk market was fully liberalised in April 2015, and Romanian milk producers complain that the Romanian market is invaded by imports, particularly from Poland and Hungary, at very small prices. “It’s very strange how Polish milk can end up so cheaply in Romania. (…) The price is much higher on the European Commission’s list. But it ends up in Romania at much smaller levels. Producers complain that subsidies are being offered in those states. We will look into it,” Achim Irimescu stated, according to news.ro.

According to the minister, the milk produced in Romania has one of the lowest prices in the European Union, namely EUR 0.24 per litre. Based on data reported at European level, the average prices in Poland and Hungary are a bit higher, prices smaller than in Romania being reported only in the Baltic States (EUR 0.14-15 per litre). The European average is around EUR 0.30 per litre.

Nevertheless, milk processors in Romania claim that only 10 percent of the processed milk comes from Hungary and Poland, the rest being collected from Romanian producers. Official data published last week show that Romanian processor collected 220,011 tons of milk in the first three months of this year, up by 9 percent year-on-year.

At the same time, milk imports grew by 54 percent in Q1, to 38,120 tons. Romania has approximately 1.7 million dairy cows, however only 200,000 of them are in high-output farms, the rest being owned by small farmers that register low production, the minister pointed out. Because of this, Romania is competitive only to a small degree on the European milk market.

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