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Tractors in downtown Berlin
German farmers took to the streets of Berlin on MondayImage: AP

Sour milk

May 25, 2009

In a demonstration against falling milk prices, German farmers drove 700 tractors through downtown Berlin, causing traffic jams. The German farm lobby is demanding a rescue package for agriculture.


According to the dairy lobby, one-fifth of German dairy farms could go out of business because of milk prices as low as 20 euro cents per liter.

About 6,000 farmers turned out for Monday's protest in Berlin.

Government milk money?

With only four months to go before the next parliamentary elections, the German government has indicated it will push through tax breaks to help farmers. A Finance Ministry spokesman estimated the proposed tax cuts would cost the government 525 million euros ($734 million) in lost revenue.

A woman drinking milk from a glass
Milk prices in Germany have fallen drasticallyImage: AP

German Farmers' Association President Gerd Sonnleitner has asked for an economic assistance package specifically tailored to the agriculture industry. He told public radio on Monday that the ongoing economic crisis had put German farmers under extreme pressure.

Some farmers carried banners reading: “Where is the rescue plan for us farmers?”

EU ministers discuss milk quandary

Meanwhile, agriculture ministers from across the EU were meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss the problems in the dairy industry.

Farmers across Europe have been demonstrating against low milk prices. About 800 dairy farmers brought a live cow with them to a demonstration outside the executive European Commission in Brussels.


Editor: Susan Houlton

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