Data on milk powder will be published by the European Commission, says EMB

When the “We should not export our problems” campaign was launched last year, the issue of fat-filled milk powder being exported to Africa at dumping prices did not figure in any way in data collection and was, therefore, given no consideration by EU policy-makers, according Silvia Däberitz of the European Milk Board (EMB).

However, the negative effects of these exports on local production were felt by African farmers. Therefore, fellow dairy farmers from the EMB in Europe, along with non governmental organisations such as Oxfam and Veterinarians Without Borders, organised a protest in Brussels against this dumping and met with a number of policy-makers to call for a responsible EU export strategy.

One of the demands was for the Milk Market Observatory (MMO) to compile and publish information about exports from the EU of these milk powder blends. Without transparency on this front, the European Commission would continue to grope in the dark, resulting in disastrous consequences for local milk production in Africa.

The demand for appropriate data collection has now been addressed by policy-makers: As of 2020, an instrument will be implemented to monitor European Union exports of milk powder that has been re-fattened with vegetable fats/oils. With a dedicated customs code for fat-filled skimmed milk powder, it will now be possible to compile data on the exported volume and countries of destination on a monthly basis. The scope of the MMO will thus be expanded to include important additional data.

For the campaign participants, this new instrument is an important interim achievement on the way to an EU export strategy that does not threaten local markets in Africa in any way, she writes.

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