Klaas vd Horst

News Milk

Belgian milk production growth above average

June 14, 2024 - Klaas van der Horst

The Belgian dairy farming sector was one of the few growers in Western Europe last year, as shown by figures from dairy umbrella organization BCZ. Milk production increased by 1.5%, while the European average did not exceed 0.5% and decreases occurred in France and Ireland.

Last year, a total of 4.95 liters of milk were processed. However, this is 4% less than in 2022. This decrease is caused by less foreign milk being processed in Belgium.

Belgium is an important importing and exporting country for raw milk. For example, FrieslandCampina still brings large volumes of Dutch milk to Belgium for processing. Lactalis in Lontzen also processes a lot of imported milk, and Milcobel also buys substantial volumes from abroad.

Last year, dairy products worth €4.95 billion were imported into Belgium, which represents a 2% decrease in value. Dairy products worth €5.49 billion were exported, marking a 3% increase. This led to a trade surplus of €539 million, 86% more than in 2022.

The total turnover of the Belgian dairy industry reached €7 billion last year. This is 1% less than in 2022, but dairy prices were much higher back then.

Despite the above figures, BCZ director Lien Callewaert believes that this does not mean that the Belgian dairy industry is doing very well. The net margin of the sector decreased to 1.03% in 2022. No figures are available for 2023 yet. During the BCZ annual meeting, Sébastien Buytaert was elected as the new chairman and successor of Catharine Pycke. Buytaert is the CEO of Lactalis Benelux.

Klaas van der Horst

Klaas van der Horst is a senior market specialist in dairy at DCA Market Intelligence. He also closely monitors developments in politics and agricultural policy.
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