Farmers protest against low milk prices

November 26, 2012 9:06:06 PM PST
Thousands of dairy farmers on Monday protested against low milk prices, choking traffic in the Belgian capital with their tractors and spraying European Union headquarters and police with milk.

One group started a fire in the street, but despite some pushing and shoving with police, there was no major violence.

Police held their line behind a metal and barbed wire barrier, beating off those who attempted to get past.

Farmers from several EU nations are demanding higher prices for milk, which currently is often being sold at below production costs, threatening the survival of their farms.

They are seeking a milk price increase of up to 25 percent, and want prices to be managed so the farmers become less dependent on an unpredictable market place.

The EU is currently preparing an overhaul of its Common Agricultural Policy which has often strictly set production and pricing conditions in the past.

It hopes to let the market become a bigger player in the future while assuring that farmers can still have a steady income.

EU farm ministers are due to meet on Wednesday to look at further reforms.