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Dairy farmers ask for higher price subsidy to counter falling farm gate prices

Hungary's dairy farmers, hit by falling prices and fewer purchases this year, are urging the government to raise price subsidies.

The farm gate price for milk has fallen from Ft 64.7 to Ft 63.4 this year, Dairy Products Council chairman Miklós Istvánfalvi said on Thursday. At the same time, dairies are expected to purchase just 1.3 billion liters of milk this year, 60 million liters less than a year earlier. Istvánfalvi said the state's milk subsidy should be raised from Ft 8.1 per liter this year to Ft 9 per liter next year to help dairy farmers keep their businesses viable. He noted milk costs about Ft 70 per liter to produce, although the production cost may vary between Ft 60 and Ft 90. Hungarian dairies are buying less milk because of more imports, he said. About a quarter of Hungary's milk is now imported.
Hungarians drink about 170 liters of milk per year on average. The country's dairy industry is estimated to be worth Ft 85 billion.