The Romanian dairy industry is facing an unprecedented crisis. While there were over 400 dairies operating seven years ago, that number had fallen to around 70 units by 2016. Representatives of the Romanian Association of Milk Industry Employers have pointed to the massive quantities of cheese being imported into Romania. The situation is particularly worrying as Romanian dairies are having to scale back their activities owing to uncontrolled imports of milk that is being sold more cheaply than locally produced milk, for which high production costs are high and outlets in short supply.
While farmers are having to stockpile cheese, the market is being flooded with low-quality cheese imports, most of which are fake products. Last year alone, Romania imported over 70 000 tonnes of cheese, or in other words 3 000 truckloads of 23 tonnes apiece. While Romanian farmers are finding it hard to sell their products on the domestic market, that cheese could equally well have come from Romanian farms and dairies.
What tools does the Commission have at its disposal to support indigenous cheese makers and promote the consumption of local products?