2014 was a difficult year for the dairy sector. The structural change continues. The effects of the economic crisis and the Russian embargo have led to a reduction of prices in the milk market. However in the Alto Adige region the dairy sector has recorded a positive development. The adverse weather conditions determined a difficult production of fodder and led to higher production costs. A positive response comes from the– Alto Adige Dairies Federation that from 1941 puts together the 10 dairies South Tyrol cooperatives which also have the aim to develop on foreign markets. The Alto Adige Dairies Federation produces a third of the production of yogurt in Italy with 126 million kg of yogurt produced per year. 100 million litres of milk are processed for the making of mozzarella. Mascarpone shows excellent performances, also thanks to the lactose free ones, figures in the production of goat’s milk are also positive.
The Federation data at the general meeting board
Farmers linked to the Federation have given 379 million kilograms of milk to dairies. The price paid for milk has slightly increased to 49.88 cents / kg (excluding VAT). The turnover of the sector in the South Tyrol area has also increased by 1.3% to 451 million euros, guaranteeing 910 jobs.
Inspections grant security
In order to ensure safe and healthy food, the dairy industry in South Tyrol has set up a dense network of inspections. The Alto Adige Dairies Federation is an independent supervisory body that oversees the entire production cycle from the production of milk to the finished product ready to be put on the market. In 2014 the Alto Adige Dairies Federation’s laboratory analyzed 3,000 samples of raw milk per day the equivalent of an annual total of 5 million analyses. It controlled 16,000 dairy products and carried out more or less 60,000 analyses. Another activity that the Federation provides is to give advice to dairy farmers, to the alpine huts and to direct sellers.
The challenge in the post-quota milk era
Joachim Reinalter, president of the Alto Adige Dairies Federation thinks that the dairies should realize their turnover by operating on the market. The end of the milk-quota will lead to an increase in the production and the best production areas will be able to use their best qualities. The South Tyrol dairies are ready for the “after milk quotas” period as they have invested in the markets, on the quality and on the efficiency at all levels of production. But this is not enough! "Political administration is obliged to support the dairy sector assuring the conditions to face an increasingly fierce competition. To enable farmers to continue the production, prices need to be determined in order to protect the agricultural sector. In the mountainous areas it isn’t possible to produce milk at the competitive prices you find on the markets, "said Reinalter.
Success in spite of the crisis thanks to quality and reliability
For years the consumption crisis has been plaguing the agricultural sector in Italy. In 2014 consumption trends showed a slight increase, nevertheless the GDP continues to be in decline. "In this difficult scenario, the South Tyrol cooperatives have worked successfully" says Reinalter with great satisfaction. The demand for South Tyrolean products is high thanks to their quality and reliability. Even if special offers do attract consumers, he decides not to give up on security and credibility. "Fundamental elements on which we can focus are that: our production excludes the use of genetically modified products, we use raw materials that are always checked and we have an excellent control system that also the consumer appreciates. All this contributes to our success, "says Reinalter in a convinced way. In fact it has made it possible to sell products at good prices with a slight increase of the price paid for the milk. Almost all the incoming milk is used for production and this gives the Federation more independence towards the milk market. Reinalter thinks this is another factor that has contributed to the stabilization of prices.