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Why are Sardinia's dairy farmers dumping milk in the streets?

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Why are Sardinia's dairy farmers dumping milk in the streets?
Sardinian farmers dump milk into the streets. Photo: Francesco Pintore/Twitter
11:22 CET+01:00
Protesting dairy farmers in Sardinia have been throwing milk onto motorways, blocking roads and attacking delivery trucks in an ongoing protest over milk prices, which they say are now as low as in the 1970s.

If you're driving in Sardinia this month, you'll need to watch out for angry farmers pouring litres of milk onto cars from motorway overpasses.

Protesting dairy farmers have been dumping out milk on roads and squares in Sardinia and disrupting delivery routes in widespread protests over milk prices over the last two weeks.

Yesterday a milk delivery truck driver was stopped and forced out of his vehicle by a gang of masked and reportedly armed protesters, who then spilled the liquid cargo all over the road.

Videos showing farmers throwing their milk into the streets have been shared on social media, with 23-year-old farmer Francesco Pintore telling media that they'd "rather dump it than sell it for next to nothing".

The protests have now been going on for two weeks, with farmers  threatening to block ports and airports.

Protestors had also threatened to disrupt regional elections on February 24, but yesterday the poll went ahead as planned.

The protests are over the price of milk in Italy, which farmers say are now so low that they can't make a living.

Current sheep milk prices have dropped to €0.60 per litre, compared to €0.85 last year. 

The drop is linked to a fall in the price of the popular Pecorino Romano cheese, which about half of all Sardinian sheeps' milk is used for.

Pecorino Romano cheese. Photo: Depositphotos.

Dairy farmers are demanding that milk prices be raised to a minimum of €0.70 per litre.

The Italian government is now preparing to allocate 10 million euros to alleviating the crisis, local media reports.

There has been widespread criticism of this method of protest in crisis-hit Italy, where more than five millon people live below the poverty line.

Gianluigi Crobu, a spokesman for the protest movement, asked fellow dairy farmers not to waste the milk but to find ways of distributing it to local communities instead.

READ ALSO: Farmers protest as prices plunge for 'Made in Italy'

 

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