DBV meets about dairy challenges

Representatives from the German dairy industry met with the German Farmers Association (DBV), where DBV president Joachim Rukwied and DBV milk president Karsten Schmal were informed about the challenges facing the German dairy sector.

In increasingly open markets, dairies and farmers must work to improve their competitiveness and address price volatility with appropriate tools. Furthermore, dairy farming is increasingly becoming the focus of public attention. DBV pledged to bring forward these concerns to political attention in order to master these challenges.

“The dairy industry’s challenge is to strengthen competitiveness in increasingly global dairy markets. Dairies are required to increasingly open up attractive sales markets in order to generate additional value creation potential. In addition, the development of new innovative products is required. Dairies and dairy farmers should jointly develop marketing structures and make supply relationships more market-driven,” Rukwied notes.

In the liberalised dairy market, sharply fluctuating prices are a constant reality. The EU and the federal government must therefore maintain the existing guidelines for the dairy market, such as direct payments, private warehousing and intervention, and expand tax incentives for risk prevention, the DBV president explains.

“The existing instruments such as commodity futures exchanges to protect producer prices must finally be further developed and implemented,” Schmal says.

Pilot projects from the Hochwald and DMK dairies in 2018 to establish fixed-price models were promising and went in the right direction. Other dairies have announced fixed-price models as well.

“These dairies follow their international competitors, but the development of the entire industry is still too hesitant,” Schmal notes. “As a dairy industry we make the on-going progress and the achievements achieved through public relations visible.”

Dairy farmers continued to develop their farms in terms of animal welfare and sustainability parameters. Good practice more widespread than political and public discussions would dictate legally.

Schmal calls on the food trade not to be driven into public action by public debates. Requirements for production and product quality must be practical and appropriate.

“Trade must not abuse its market power. Consumers want local and regional foods that are produced to high standards, such as those we have in Germany. In this respect, the trade should be aware that for it, German agriculture is essential,” he says.

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