European dairy crisis threatens West Africa

Published on : 05/11/2020 – 00:06

Several European and African NGOs fear increased competition from European milk powder for local production in West Africa. A threat that hangs over the industry in the coming months, due to the crisis in the sector at the moment in Europe. The dairy industry in West Africa could therefore be doubly penalized.

The dairy crisis in Europe is not new. Overproduction has worsened since 2015 with the end of quotas which limited production. The pandemic of the new coronavirus has amplified a structural crisis. Pascal Erard, head of advocacy for the French Committee for International Solidarity.

This new crisis prolongs that of the past. It is linked to the fact that the closure of a certain number of markets, such as collective catering, has limited the use of dairy products and that a solution must be found for European and French dairy farmers. There are different proposals that are made, such as limiting production ; but there is also a proposal that was finally adopted by the European Commission, which is to store milk, butter and cheese.

This storage solution is of particular concern to European and African organizations that have signed the plea. Hindatou Amadou, campaign coordinator, “My milk is local” in West Africa, a region which now accounts for 20% of European exports of powdered milk.

This situation will influence milk production in West Africa, in the sense that, who speaks of storage will speak of destocking of these quantities, for which it is necessary to seek outlets and (the desired destination) it is towards the ‘West Africa. So we see problems looming on the horizon for the local milk sector, which is already struggling to survive.

Powdered milk exported from Europe arrives in West Africa at very low prices for various reasons, notably because it is sold below its production costs thanks to subsidies from the common agricultural policy. The fear therefore of an exacerbation of competition, which is already very strong against local dairy production in West Africa. As elsewhere, the dairy sector is suffering the consequences of the current health crisis, testifies Sidibé Moumouni, owner of the Kossam dairy in the West near Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso

The curfew has already played a lot on us, because it turns out that our customers are shopkeepers open until midnight and one hour, who can no longer reach these hours because there was the curfew fire from 19 hours, when this is the time when the officials coming home from work are shopping. Some cities in Burkina Faso were also quarantined. Bobo Dioulasso was concerned and we are in this region. So it caused us a lot of difficulty ; we’re still in it but it’s starting to go.

Out of thirteen salespeople who usually drop products from the West Kossam dairy in customer stores, only the three who supply the Bobo Dioulasso area continued their tours in March and part of April. For the month of March, the Kossam dairy in the West recorded a loss of six million CFA francs, or more than 9,000 euros.

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