PIACENZA – “Milk, a scarce commodity in 2022, has gone from a price of 40 cents to 60, increasing thanks to the market by an order of magnitude higher than what was obtained at the beginning of the year with the political agreement. Companies have been recognized for a price increase that hasn’t come for thirty years, but we have to consider what will happen next. Milk has indeed had an increase of 25% on average over the previous year, but the costs of the main production factors have increased much more” – said Alfredo Lucchini, president of the dairy product section of Confagricoltura Piacenza.
The supply of fodder has been very difficult, both in terms of production costs and yields, which are lower due to the drought. It was difficult to produce with diesel at double the price, fertilizers at triple the price and many other production factors increased by 30% compared to 2021. “Compared to other European countries, we have further burdens also for previous political choices from a logistics and energy point of view – he remarks Lucchini -. The milk quoted at 60 cents, sensational from an emotional point of view, has generated an enthusiasm that has not been reflected in the company accounts. It is necessary to keep a cool head and weigh any business investments well, also in consideration of the growing cost of money with the upward thrust of mortgage rates (in addition to the consolidated increases in price lists and the weakening of instruments such as the tax credit and incentives for industry 4.0)”.
We must then consider the new CAP with the cut in direct contributions and the increase in constraints and penalties, which will lead us to further reduce production, hindering the operations of our companies. An example above all is the eco-scheme 1 of the CAP for livestock which is grafted onto the convoluted design of the Classyfarm system, of the electronic prescription (of which we are the pioneers in Europe) and of the electronic register of treatments imposing further evaluation parameters to which it is bound approximately 30% of the old CAP). “In fact – underlines the manager of Confagricoltura Piacenza – farms will have even more difficulty in being competitive, for example the abandonment of the prophylaxis of drying off, a sanitary practice with proven efficacy for decades, the use of which will be sufficient to put farms outside the reference parameters”. The CAP was designed to lower the cost of food, today nothing remains of that intention, just as there is nothing left of the aid in the pockets of the farmers who refund it even in compliance with all the constraints imposed. “Furthermore – points out the farmer – contrary to what has been proclaimed, all these constraints do not favor small businesses which close, thus losing control of the territory. The big companies resist and grow, which European agricultural policy opposes by equating them to industries and therefore, secondly, by placing further obstacles on them as well”.
Coming to the milk market, in the first 8 months Germany and France had recorded a drop in production, but at the end of 2022 they recovered, also thanks to the protectionist measures, in a Europe that should be homogeneous and free on a regulatory and commercial level, like the block on the export of heifers from Germany, forcing them to give birth in their country, thus producing more milk locally. At the end of 2022, the prices of imported milk in Italy fell while domestic milk saw a drop in production and an increase in price. The risk is that the entire portion of national production that remains outside PDO products will compete with a world that has returned to being that of a year ago, therefore with various stables in positions of great disadvantage.
“This year’s economic situation – concludes Lucchini – was a precious opportunity to carry out market analyzes and product aggregation, to build perspectives, instead individualism prevailed. At the end of the phase, all that remains is the regret for having missed the opportunity to make a national plan linked to the world of milk. Let’s go back to asking, once again, for transparency and for support from politics, not in negotiations, but for structural interventions that facilitate the aggregation of supply (including also an extension of industry 4.0 with the same rates as in 2022 and actions of interest rate restraint). We ask national politics for greater dialogue with the institutions at European level so that they consider the virtuous path already taken by our farms (with the introduction of innovation, the reduction of emissions and the limited and extremely targeted use of drugs) than by the new Pac will be unjustly penalized and who, despite the price of milk, find themselves ending a year floating around the break-even point”.
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