Italy: Farmers stage protest in Rome over olive oil crisis and falling milk prices

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Hundreds of farmers held a protest in front of Italian Parliament in Rome on Tuesday, to draw attention to the olive crisis caused by frosts and deadly tree disease still affecting the country.

Thousands of olive trees were cut down in the southern region of Puglia since 2013, as the region had been struggling to contain the spread of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which called olive quick decline syndrome. The demonstrators were denouncing the controversial containment measures meant to stop the bacterium, calling on the government to save the trees.

They were joined by dairy farmers and shepherds from the Italian island of Sardinia, who were protesting against low milk prices.

“Is it possible that we have to pay 70 cents to produce one litre of milk when they [cheese industries] keep paying us for the same milk 54 cents, 60, including taxes? This is absurd; it just can’t go on like this any longer,” said one of the Sardinian farmers, while addressing the crowd.

According to reports, the price of sheep milk has dropped more than 25 percent following a fall in the price of Pecorino Romano cheese, which absorbs about half of Sardinian sheep milk.

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