The dairy producers of Quebec have received many hard knocks over the years. The crisis of the COVID-19 is added to the list.
The dairy industry has lost 35 % of its market, with the closure of restaurants, schools, and hotels, combined with the decline for the demand of ice cream and cheeses. Only last week, a surplus of 3 million litres of milk was delivered to the food banks.
“The increase in sales in a grocery store is not enough to compensate”, says the president of the Federation des producteurs de lait du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Daniel Gobeil.
“It would be good if the market supply is not limited more quantities by buyer. Milk, Quebec won’t miss!”
The producers expect to have to deal with the repercussions of the sars coronavirus during long months yet. Even a hypothetical recovery of the economy in may will not preclude the producers to be faced with the choice wrenching.
“Our sales are always more off-peak in June, July and August, said Mr. Gobeil. So we will put the cows to rest, reduce the trafficking, but we must still continue to feed them.”
Measures more drastic could be taken if the situation is escalating.
“The other solution, which we do not want to see, would be to sell our animals for meat. But nobody wants to get there,” said the president of the Federation des producteurs de lait du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
Quebec and Ottawa are being asked to adopt measures of support. Limit access to dairy imports by the federal would be a good start, writes mr. Gobeil.
The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean currently has 275 dairy producers. The president Gobeil is concerned that some may not survive the crisis.