Lithuanian dairy farmers complain about unilaterally terminated contracts and cut buying-in rates

DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

At a press conference organized by news agency ELTA on Tuesday, chair of the Chamber of Agriculture Andriejus Stancikas said that both meat and dairy and vegetable producers will be negatively affected by the embargo introduced by Russia, and not necessarily only those producers who used to export their production to the Russian market.

“As the blockade is very wide this time, it includes not only Lithuania, but also the entire European Union, US and Canada, it will be difficult to redirect and export production to the West. This market will be flooded with local production, both those who used to export their production there or who will try to do it will face difficulties,” said Stancikas.

Farmers say they support the idea of cutting VAT rates; however, according to them, this compensation should be paid to the suppliers of raw materials.

“It is necessary to observe that that this exemption does not become somebody’s profit,” said Stancikas.

According to president of the Board of the Lithuanian Association of Agricultural Cooperatives Jūratė Dovydėnienė, the embargo will hit dairy farms the most; 33 percent of Lithuanian farmers will face problems of where to sell their milk.

Dovydienė revealed that, in the middle of the month, dairy plant Pieno Žvaigždės terminated contracts with dairy cooperatives. To her unofficial knowledge, the company has terminated contracts with farmers in neighbouring Latvia and Estonia as well, and at present it buys in milk only from farmers who have direct contracts with the company.

According to Dovydienė, some dairy processing companies have reduced milk buying-in prices; they have declined by more than 30 percent, and today farmers are paid only LTL 0,50 (EUR 0,14) per litre of milk.

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