Got milk? Markets across the European Union do, and far too much of it. German media report milk prices have slipped to new lows, depressed by an oversupply following last year’s end to production quotas.
The reports came ahead of a meeting between EU agriculture ministers in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the crisis. In Germany, around 75,000 dairy farmers are feeling the pinch, as the current prices are only half about what they would need in order to cover all the costs of their production.
Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic party proposed an aid package to the struggling dairy farmers to the tune of more than 200 million euros ($226 million), the details of which are to be fleshed out in a "milk summit" at the end of the month.
The past months have seen dairy farmers launch sweeping demonstrations across Europe to protest the ruinous effects the low milk prices have had on their livelihood.
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt called for production caps in an interview with Germany's "Süddeutsche Zeitung," but ruled out a return to the milk quotas, where dairy farmers had to pay levies once they produced over a certain amount - the norm in Europe for over three decades.
Instead, further financial aid would also be considered, said the agriculture minister.
"We want to support farmers with tax breaks and liquidity assistance," Schmidt said.