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Lázár: Government help needed to save dairy sector

Telco

The Hungarian government is working on a detailed program to help the country’s dairy industry with negotiations on the matter scheduled for today, however, if the Hungarian government does not help, milk production in the country could come to a halt, Cabinet Chief János Lázár said yesterday at his weekly press conference.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár speaks at his weekly press conference yesterday. (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé) 

The price drop of 2.8% fat milk in the past year left dozens of dairy farmers feeling uneasy, while Hungarian consumers have opted for cheaper imported milk, online daily index.hu reported. The average price last January was HUF 245 per liter, however, this figure decreased to HUF 222 per liter by the end of the year. 

Importing milk from Northern and Western Europe has become much cheaper compared to buying domestically. This trend will eventually lead to the downfall of all dairy producers in Hungary, said Zoltán Harcz, Executive Director of the Dairy Board.

Hungarian dairy farmers voiced their concern regarding the high percentage of import dairy products in the country,and were said to be planning a demonstration against major importers today. 

The abolition of EU quotas, the Russian embargo, and the tax evaders played a major role in this massive decrease in domestic milk consumption, according to index.hu. However, the tendency can be seen internationally as well, in that within the EU and elsewhere, the price of milk has fallen across the board.

Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas held a press conference at a local Tesco, where he vouched that the government will launch a milk ad campaign with a budget of HUF 420 million, index.hu said. Furthermore, during a meeting at the beginning of March, the government discussed plans to create a new business strategy for the dairy industry, sources told index.hu.

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