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Sheep milk: Sardinia anxious about the price collapse

According to Coldiretti, the situation being experienced by the dairy sheep and goat sector in Sardinia is serious, with sheep milk fetching less than 60 cents per litre. Coldiretti has expressed its intention to organize a demonstration, driven by what has been defined as the ‘bluff’ of sheep milk overproduction. In September, with the final production data, it appeared as so. Meanwhile, the state of affairs is heavily damaging the market with losses amounting to roughly 150 million euros in the supply chain and firstly causing the price of Pecorino Romano to collapse and then that of sheep milk.

The situation in Ogliastra appears to be dramatic as in the rest of the island. According to Vincenzo Cannas, local manager of the above-mentioned association, it is not true that overproduction is such as to justify the decrease in milk prices imposed by industrialists.

On the contrary, the arrival in Ogliastra of processing companies from the north of Sardinia signifies that the situation is not so. What is true – again according to Cannas – is actually the opposite, i.e. that there has been a decline in production. In the meantime, the price of sheep milk has dropped from 90 to 60 cents.

The processing companies

The processing companies are not faring well either. Prices of Pecorino Romano, the cheese that determines the price of sheep milk in Sardinia, are falling: the price per kg was 9.50 euros in July 2015 but is now 5.30 per kg. Consequently, the processing industry is currently offering farmers around 50/60 cents per litre compared to the euro per litre from 2013-2014, resulting in a 40% curtailment of farmers’ incomes. This is what has been affirmed by Copagri (the confederation of agricultural producers) which calls for special measures to be discussed with the organisations. President of Copagri Ignazio Cirronis has requested that the ministry approves a decree requiring milk buyers to communicate to the Member State on a monthly basis data on the litres purchased, as already happens for cow’s milk.