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Farmers demonstrate against rise in milk quota

Farmers prepare a special delivery of milk outside the federal parliament building Keystone

Swiss farmers gathered in the federal capital, Bern, on Friday to protest against an increase in milk quotas.

Around 50 farmers from all over Switzerland began the protest by placing a symbolic deposit of freshly produced milk outside the parliament building.

The demonstrators said they had hoped to pour milk on the floor outside the office of the economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, in a gesture of defiance against the increase.

But they were deterred after it was discovered that the finance minister was not in his office.

Swiss milk producers instead voiced their concern that excess production would lead to a drop in the nationwide price of cartons of milk.

“The market is currently well-balanced,” said Fernand Cuche, secretary of the farmers union, Uniterre.

“There is no need for any additional milk,” he added.

The protest comes one week after the government announced it was increasing the annual milk quota by 1.5 per cent with effect from the production year 2002/2003.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR