Germany urges EU action to support dairy farmers

HAMBURG, April 15 (Reuters) - The European Union should take action to support dairy farmers facing a sharp fall in milk sales due to the coronavirus crisis, Germany’s agriculture ministry said.

German agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner has written to the EU Commission asking the EU to give financial support for warehousing costs to store milk powder to help the dairy market recover from current depressed prices.

France’s farm minister made a similar call last week.

Despite a temporary surge in milk sales in supermarkets, the coronavirus shutdown of cafes, restaurants and other caterers has cut milk demand.

Germany’s exports of dairy products have also fallen, the Association of German Farmers said separately.

Kloeckner said private warehousing space to store unsold milk powder should be made available.

Lower German dairy exports, especially to Asia, mean more price falls are feared, Kloeckner said in her letter.

She said other farm products including beef, fruit, vegetables and wine also should be kept under intensive observation and crisis support measures taken if needed. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Jason Neely)