Ministries of agriculture, industry disavow raising milk price

2. Cow Breeders Picture
Cows in a dairy farm. (Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Although news outlets quoted the minister of agriculture telling his trade, industry, and supply counterpart that a specialized committee recommended a JD0.10 raise in milk prices to JD0.53, the ministries denied that a final decision had been taken.اضافة اعلان

Meanwhile, cow breeders say that their sector has been losing JD2 million each month, which started when lockdowns were imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and persisted afterwards as a result of climbing fodder prices.

A committee, which was formed to review the costs of producing fresh milk, recommended a raise in price. The committee included representatives of the Agriculture Ministry in partnership with the Cooperative Society of Cattle Owners and Milk Producers.

But later, the ministries of agriculture and industry said that they would not bear responsibility for the raised price of milk.

Yanal Al-Barmawi, the spokesperson for the Industry Ministry told Jordan News that a decision on this matter “is the prerogative of the Ministry of Agriculture”.

But Lawrence Al-Majali, spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry, said that “protecting cow breeders is the duty on the Ministry of Agriculture, especially since they are under our umbrella.”

He explained that the committee was impartial and that it meetings followed complaints by the breeders about the “difficult economic conditions they are going through”.

“But this decision is a preliminary and supervisory decision and does not fall within the powers of our ministry to raise the price or not. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply has the right to set price ceilings as well,” he added.

“Also, products in Jordan are subject to the policy of supply and demand, which means that setting prices is not within our powers”, he said.

President of the Cooperative Society for Cattle Owners and Milk Producers Laith Al-Hajj told Jordan News that “the sector’s losses currently amount to approximately JD2 million per month”.

He explained that “the cost is set at JD0.53/kg and it aims at protecting farmers, not harming citizens.”

He said that “we had been going through difficult conditions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what made the situation more difficult is the Russian war on Ukraine and the unexpected increase in feed prices.”

“We asked the Ministry of Agriculture to form a neutral committee to study the situation and thus raise costs,” he said. “Raising costs never means raising the profit margin, but this is the least that can be done to stand by the sector and support it.”

Hajj stressed that “the sector may lose a large number of its workers if conditions continue as they are, and this means that we may have to import products from abroad, and this is an absolutely useless solution, especially with the difficult food conditions and the hard economic conditions.”

He said “it was agreed that the fodder would not be subject to a tax, and we are in great need of this decision, especially since I believe that we are the only country in which a tax is imposed on feed.”

He cited the need to stand by this sector and to support its members, adding that “taking equitable measures such as raising costs and canceling the tax imposed on feed will allow workers to stand on their feet again”.

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