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FARMING

Sweden braces for EU-induced egg boom

A ban on bare cages for egg-laying poultry, which comes into effect in the new year, could mean an egg boom for Sweden if the demand rises quicker than the European poultry farmers have time to adjust.

Sweden braces for EU-induced egg boom

”Sweden adjusted to the new rules a few years ago now, so we don’t have to do anything when the new rules come into effect,” Åsa Lannhard Öberg of the agency told The Local.

Despite the fact that the ban on bare poultry cages for egg laying hens in the EU was clubbed as early as 1999, there are today about 1,000 establishments in 14 member states that haven’t changed when the ban comes into effect on January 1st.

According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) those poultry farmers who break the rules may be subject to sanctions and could be forced to close up shop, which could result in an Pan-European egg shortage and cause prices to soar.

For Sweden, as well as other countries that have already made the change, this could be good news.

”One scenario is that the demand increases and that we see an egg boom in Sweden and in other countries that have made the change already,” said Lannhard Öberg.

According to the agency there is a small risk that ”illegal” eggs will enter Sweden when the rules have come into effect, although the country only really imports eggs from countries that have already made the change.

”It is possible but we judge that risk to be very slim. And it is important to remember that these eggs are ‘illegal’ from an animal welfare perspective but you wouldn’t get sick from eating them,” Lannhard Öberg told The Local.

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COW

Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat

Dairy farmers in Sweden are threatening to use their tractors to block all dairies in the country if the price of milk does not increase.

Swedish dairy farmers in tractor blockade threat

An agricultural turmoil is bubbling up in Sweden. During the last few months, there have been several reports of dairy farmers being forced to close down their farms due to the low price of milk and rising expenses.

Now, some of the farmers have had enough and are threatening to use their tractors to physically block Swedish diaries if the situation does not improve.

If the blockade becomes a reality, farmers would still milk their cows, but let the milk go to waste.

Stefan Gård, the president of lobbying organization Swedish Dairy Farmers (Svenska Mjölkbönder), explained that, at this point, the group does not back the threat to block the dairies.

“I fully understand why they are doing this. The situation is critical. You can’t leave a pot on the stove for too long before the top blows off,” he told the Local.

One of the enraged farmers is Anders Birgersson from Vikingstad, near Linköping in central Sweden.

“We need to raise the price of milk by 30 öre ($0.04) [per litre] to be able meet the market fair and square,” he told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The group hopes to bring together enough farmers for a demonstration at Jönköping, southern Sweden, to be able to put some weight into their threat to block all Swedish dairies.

On Thursday, Swedish Dairy Farmers plans to have a demonstration of its own in Stockholm.

During the demonstration the organization is going to hand over a document to Minister of Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson. The document will show the extent to which current laws and rules affect Swedish dairy farmers.

“At the moment, we are focusing on our own demonstration on Thursday. After that we don’t know what we will do,” Gård told The Local.

“The next step might be to join the blockade.”

Eric Johansson

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