Monday, January 28, 2008

Milkin' us dry

What on Earth has happened to the price of milk? I could be wrong, but I'm nearly certain that less than years ago the price of a liter of Premier milk at Tesco was 70c. Now that same liter is €1.06 ($6.03 per US gallon). That's more than a 50% increase.

Now with most products I can chalk it up to supply and demand. Maybe there's been a sudden surge in milk drinking in Ireland, although I doubt it. No, I suspect it has a lot more to do with the whole milk quota thing. I can't claim to be an expert in the arcana of EU agricultural policy, but surely there's something wrong with the EU's intervention in the market if demand is so great that the price rises by 50% in less than two years.

I can understand why the government might want to intervene in a market in the short term if something dramatic happens, particularly with regards to the food supply, but long term intervention always ends with the consumer losing out somehow.