THE Majorcan Farmers Union warned yesterday of the possible closure of many dairy farms on the island if no solution is found to the crisis which the sector is suffering, caused by a large increase in production costs and the freeze in the price they are paid per litre.

The Secretary General of the Farmers Union, Biel Torrens, said that many farmers are planning to close their businesses because the existing situation does not give them a sufficient profit.

He explained that, during the last few months, there has been a 35 percent rise in the price of cereals and fodder, an increase in costs which the farmers had not been able to recover on the price of their milk.

The reason why the dairy product industry continues to pay the same price to the farmers is, according to Torrens, the low demand on Majorca. “We have few buyers and we cannot put pressure on them, but they have to understand that if we don't come to an agreement their suppliers will disappear”, he said.

With this in mind, the Farmers Union is holding a series of conversations with the industrialists, with the aim of explaining the situation to them. They have also had a meeting with the Balearic Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Merce Amer, to ask her to mediate in their discussions with the industrialists and to set up a round table for negotiation. Torrens said that the Minister's reaction had been positive.

Other questions put to Amer were that the Balearic Government should take all possible measures to alleviate the causes of the rising costs of production, as one of the things which causes the price of fodder to rise is the fact that Majorca is an island. “We hope that the situation will be resolved as a trend towards higher prices for milk could make our sector more competitive and it would be a shame to lose the opportunity”, he added.

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