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Too much milk in Europe | DW Documentary

Europe produces too much milk. The surplus milk is processed by the ton into powdered milk for export to Africa. The results can be disastrous.

African milk farmers simply cannot compete with European price dumping. Our agricultural exports torpedo all development efforts.

European dairy products sell for next to nothing – it’s just one of the consequences of the crisis that has been raging since the abolition of milk quotas in 2015. Never before was milk so cheap in our supermarkets: European farmers have reacted to falling prices with rising production. But what happens to what is not sold here? Export is the magic word for policy makers in German agriculture.

For countries like Cameroon, the wave of milk washing over it from Europe is a disaster. These developments stifle promising approaches within the country’s dairy sector. Dairies, some of them even funded with European development aid, lie empty because the farmers refuse to deliver milk to them. They know that their milk has no chance against the indirectly subsidized produce from Europe. “It’s not fair”, says Hayatou El Hadji Souley, dairy farmer in Cameroon. “We should be increasing our home production in order to improve people’s lives here”. That is exactly what German politicians are calling for, too. They want conditions to improve in Africa so that economic migrants won’t feel obliged to come to Europe.

Our documentary shows that European dumping prices are the opposite of what Cameroon needs to have a healthy dairy industry.

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