Dairy firms commit to lower prices, won’t say by how much

Government measures to bring down cost of dairy products include introducing imports gradually from 2012, lowering the target price.

cottage cheese 311 R (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
cottage cheese 311 R
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The three dairy manufacturers responded Thursday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s industry reforms by committing to lowering prices, but they would not say by how much.
“When the new target price comes into effect, we will announce a price decrease,” Tnuva said in a statement.
“In order for the prime minister’s reforms to be effective and beneficial for consumers, each of the players must do their part… We expect that the supermarket chains will join this process.”
Similar statements were issued by Strauss and Tara, but Globes reported that retailers had expressed doubt over how much of an impact the government’s measures will have on prices.
Government measures to bring down the cost of dairy products will include introducing imports gradually from 2012 and lowering the target price, the amount dairy farmers get for a liter of milk, by 5 to 6 agorot.
Knesset Agricultural Lobby chairman Shai Hermesh and Israel Farmers Federation chairman Avshalom Vilan both slammed the government, Globes reported.
Hermesh said Netanyahu’s decision was “a cheap attempt to placate the tent protesters by slaughtering cows – something that will cost us dearly.”
“The prime minister, as is his wont, beats the poor instead of hitting the supermarket chains that are profiteering across a full range of food products,” he said. “He chose to attack the weakest link: the dairy farmers. This is a slap in the face to the periphery, the confrontation lines and working people. This is a populist decision whose fruits of shame will be eaten by the Israeli consumer, which will soon face shortages of Israeli produce and will become dependent on food imports.”
Vilan called the government “a false hero” and said it would kill off Israel’s dairy industry.
“Small dairymen will pay the full price, and it is doubtful whether consumer prices will fall,” he said, “because the dairies and especially the big supermarket chains will continue to rake it in at the consumers’ expense.”
he Dairy Board released an angry statement immediately following Netanyahu’s announcement Wednesday night. It said the prime minister’s solution was “clumsy and complicated” and would “not help at all to lower the price of milk and dairy products.”
Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce president Uriel Lynn welcomed the government’s decision to open the dairy market to imports. But he said this was not enough, and the next step should be to allow the importation of all food products.
“As long as there is no real competition in the forms of imports, there won’t be an appropriate decrease in food prices,” Lynn said.