Overproduction of fresh milk leads to lower price for farmers on excess volumes

Producers feel the pinch of cheaper long-life milk alternatives and shift to plant-based milk, as MDP announces lower prices for farmers supplying milk over and above their quotas

Maltese dairy farmers have been told that an oversupply of milk will lead to a lower price on wholesale supply of milk to Benna producers Malta Dairy Products.

MDP informed the dairy cooperative KPH that any milk over and above their quotas will be priced at just €0.001c per litre – or €10 for 1,000 litres.

MDP cited oversupply as the main reason for the pricing, saying that talks with government authorities were taking place.

The Nationalist MEP candidate Peter Agius, published the MDP letter to farmers, saying this was a direct consequence of scant attention to the milk industry.

Agius said the removal of fresh milk deliveries in school, which ensured a market for excess milk production, in favour of vouchers for families, had also had an effect on demand.

Noel Fenech, the president of the milk producers cooperative KPH – which represents Maltese dairy farmers and owns 70% of MDP – said the letter from the MDP arrived after the daily milk quota had been well surpassed.

“The primary cause is the substitution of local milk with alternative products, such as UHT and almond and soya alternatives. They are steadily killing the local market.”

Indeed, an imported UHT milk carton at discount supermarket chain Lidl retails for 79c, compared to Benna’s fresh milk at 96c. Rising costs of food often push consumers to look for cheaper alternatives such as these long-life alternatives.

Other branded long-life milk and plant-based substitutes tend to be substantially more expensive than fresh Maltese milk.

The cold temperature also plays a vital role: it’s natural for cows to generate more milk throughout the winter.

A Herdsman told MaltaToday that in winter, milk production rises in tandem with feed consumption.

“Temperature is very important in livestock breeding: in hot seasons, we run out of milk in the summer. A cow cannot be turned on or off. And it takes years for a cow to mature before it starts producing milk. So you cannot predict the market.”