Greek Milk Costs More Than Anywhere Else In Europe As Suicide Rate Rises By 37%

Tyler Durden's picture

That Greek suicide rates have exploded over the past two years is very much expected: after all, in order to preserve the sanctity of the failed monetary status quo, the Greek economy and its less than prosperous population have been sacrificed by the legacy elite and the wealthy. The socio-economic collapse has resulted in a total crash in economic production of goods and services, an nosebleed-inducing unemployment rate which increasing at a mindboggling 1% per month, and the rise of neo-nazism, with the Golden Dawn party now the third most popular political organization in the country (and rising rapidly). Sure enough, Kathimerini has confirmed that the" Greece's suicide rate increased by 37 percent between 2009 - 2011, To Pontiki newspaper reported quoting police data. The data, which was presented in Parliament by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias following a request by SYRIZA MPs, showed that 3,124 suicides and attempted suicides have occurred in the debt-stricken country since 2009, the weekly newspaper said." As noted, no surprise in this very tragic headline on the day in which the world's still wealthiest nation gives gratitude for all its "wealth."

Yet while the causes of the depressing Greek reality are well-known, what may be less known are the concurrent events which are taking place to help "fix" the country. Because if one listened to the Troika, the Eurogroup's now monthly 4:00 AM stressed and confused press conferences, and the Greek government, the people are suffering solely due to "austerity" which has to take place to restore balance. Yet as we have documented repeatedly, "austerity" in the true sense of the word has hardly been implemented anywhere. Instead, what has been implemented is a toxic spiral of rising corruption coupled with ever greater government imposition of control and the evisceration of a free market, which, and not "austerity" - which is merely another word for deleveraging, or returning to a sustainable sovereign debt level - is what has precipitated the death spiral of Greek society until such point in time when there is no more capital to plunder from anyone and the farcical flame that passes for the Greek economy, and soon thereafter society, is finally extinguished.

One such event is the realization that despite the collapse of end-demand, milk in Greece costs more than anywhere else in the European Union.

Why? Read on to understand what is really happening in Greece.

From Kathimerini:

Cost of milk in Greece a problem for consumers and producers

To understand why milk costs more in Greek shops than anywhere else in the European Union, Stathis Aravanis's farm is a good place to start.

Tall elm trees screen the 4 hectares (10 acres) of land that Aravanis farms outside the small town of Orchomenos in central Greece, not far from the ancient city of Thebes. The silence is broken only by the sound of grazing cattle and a passing tractor.

Each day 200 or so cows produce 5.5 tons of milk that he has been selling to Delta, a division of food conglomerate Vivartia, since 1990. Delta, which collects the milk every two days, pays him 45 euro cents a liter.

That is in line with the average farm-gate price in Greece of 44.79 cents, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistics office. Only in Finland, Malta and Cyprus is the price higher.

Aravanis said his running costs made it impossible to produce more cheaply.

His farm is too small for him to grow fodder for his total herd of 440 animals, so he has to buy in clover, maize, oats, hay and soya, which is imported from the United States.

"If the price fell to 40 cents none of us would be able to survive. We are barely getting by at these prices,» he said.

Aravanis reserves his harshest criticism for government bureaucrats, who he says make it hard for farmers to obtain land permits to expand and reap economies of scale. «It's not as if cows are going to be grazing in their living room,» he said.

George Kefalas, who produces milk on a family farm near the northern city of Thessaloniki, said it can take two or three years to get an operating licence.

"In other countries, even in the developing world, these are issues that were resolved decades ago,» Kefalas, the head of Greece's Cattle Breeders' Association, said. He says he supplies milk to the dairy firm Olympus at 46 cents a liter.

At the other end of the dairy chain stand Greek shoppers, who wonder why they have to pay around 1.50 euros for a liter of fresh milk.

Agnes Papadopoulou, 46, a mother of two young children who lost her job as an accountant in January, stopped buying fresh milk months ago because she could no longer afford it.

"It's too expensive. It's impossible to get by when you need two liters a day, plus bread, plus food, never mind all the bills and taxes we have to pay. Fresh milk is a luxury,» Papadopoulou said, pushing a trolley stacked with pasta, lentils and tinned food in an Athens supermarket.

Attempting direct comparisons with prices elsewhere in Europe is treacherous because so many variables are in play, such as transport costs, rents and consumer preferences.

But Eurostat says the price in Greece of dairy produce -- milk, cheese and eggs -- was 31.5 percent above the EU average in 2011, the highest in Europe.

Greek dairy firms say they charge a fair price and their sector is one of the least profitable due to high costs.

But many Greeks assume that milk prices are rigged, a suspicion reinforced by a fine of 75 million euros that the Competition Commission slapped on several firms in 2007 for fixing prices between themselves and with supermarkets.

The companies are still challenging the ruling in court.

"Of course milk needs to be cheaper. The government needs to do something because the big companies are taking advantage of us,» said Loukia Antonopoulou, 41, a saleswoman in a clothes shop in Athens.

Athanasios Skordas, the deputy minister for economic development and competitiveness, said the very fact that the price of a liter of milk ranges from 0.85 to 2.10 euros shows there is no indication of price fixing.

"Competition works. There is a large number of active firms and the price range is very wide,» he told Reuters. «I'm not saying milk is cheap, but I think the price is very fair."

Skordas said milk was expensive because of farmers' high production costs, expensive packaging and the cost of transporting milk to remote islands and villages.

Moreover, fresh milk is sold in Greece with a shelf life of just five days, which means more trips to collect it from farms.

Dairy farmers oppose a long-standing proposal to extend the shelf life of milk to 10 days, as is common elsewhere in Europe.

This could be done relatively simply in the pasteurisation process, but Skordas said cattle breeders feared -- unnecessarily, in his opinion -- that this would open the door to increased competition from imported milk.

Back on his muddy farm at Orchomenos, Aravanis said the quality of Greek milk was unbeatable. But he added: «It could be sold a little cheaper. I wish prices could be held down so the consumer with a family could buy even one more liter of milk. That would be very important for us.»

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BeaverFever's picture

Statistics also show...
Sheep have become less anxious with the reduced adult male population.

Sabibaby's picture

Once the price of a gallon of milk surpasses the price of a gallon of gas, I'm done with this life.

Hobbleknee's picture

Milk has cost more than gas since forever.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

...spoken like a true Amerikan...

tmosley's picture

Only Amerkians speak the truth?


Milk has always been more than gas.  Milk and gas are only expensive when you are paying for them in dilutable currencies.  Their prices have been falling in terms of non-dilutable currency.

akak's picture

Yeah, but what good is milk, you can't eat it .... er, wait ....

economics9698's picture

I pay $2.99 for a gallon of milk and $3.39 for a gallon of gas.

akak's picture

$3.89 for (store bought) milk and $3.89 for gasoline, both as of yesterday.

Although I mostly drink raw, and illegal, goat milk from my neighbor (a relative steal at $8 a gallon).

Oleander's picture

I pay $3.39 for a half gallon, delivered by milkman. Gas is $3. 53 a gallon. Milk is always more expensive. 

tonyw's picture

How come in "the land of the free" it is illegal to sell/buy/drink goat milk from a neighbor?????

petolo's picture

Here in Canada,it is illegal to sell milk on thr farm. I know, i did it for ye ars. I,m the Corzine of milkmen.I would still do it today but alas, had to give up small farming afyer spending my first million. It is also illegal to have more than 100 laying hens, 12 turkeys, etc..Outlaw farming is here.

Sabibaby's picture

Well.... Ok.... The milk I buy -Meadow Gold D milk fluctuates between 3.19 and 3.29 for a gallon, while gas is around 3.17-3.23 so I guess I'm outa here. It's been nice, enjoy your turkey.

Jon Bong Jovi's picture

Coca Cola costs more than a gallon of gas.

robertocarlos's picture

Those old milk or cream containers are from the 60s. A wonderful time for me helping my Dad deliver milk when I was 8. That was way better than going to school.

TheCanadianAustrian's picture

At first glance I read this as "Suicide Rate Reaches 37%"

merizobeach's picture

Admit it: you were disappointed to realize your misread!  Just kidding.  ;-)

'Suicide' is usually presented in such a derogatory tone...  Perhaps it could be seen differently, such as: auto-euthanasia.  Moreover, of sheeple.

Sure, it could be construed as bankster-wrought genocide, but that's what every war is, so they're already guilty.

A few billboard slogans and tv ads.. "Euthanasia: The Noble Choice", "Choose Dignity: Auto-Euthanize", and others discouraging breeding...  Maybe with enough voluntary cullings, the NWO wouldn't have to continue with their three-generation sterility plan and progressively stronger toxins to make it happen.

OT... I just heard of this; has anyone here visited the "Georgia Guidestones"?

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Greece is not a good place to grow grass , little grass = little milk.

I know its simple but..................


Anyway you will find all of the PIigs rational domestic economies disappeared soon after the single european act and its credit hyperinflation was brought in.

It sure happened in Ireland & Spain , I know that for a fact.


In these med countries much of the good grazing is summer transhumance which is normally far away from population centers and good communication  - therefore the milk turns to cheese.

Stuntgirl's picture

I agree that our pre-european union domestic economies have been very upset.

I'm still wanting to hear some rational evaluation of the damage done not just by the credit hyperinflation, but by the stringent production quotas the union imposed.

Examples in Spain include the forced reduction of milk production in the greener regions. The spanish milk-producing region was surplus, and the imposed quota reduced production to the point that over half the region's milk is imported from France (and packaged and marketed as "spanish").

Currently we don't even produce up to quota, and still more cattle is killed off every month.

In Andalucia, the poorest region, EU agricultural subsidies were handed out for UPROOTING productive olive tree plantations. Currently, production is so tight, that mass fraud in olive oil quality is being uncovered.

That's to say nothing of the red tape, taxation and administrative harassment that producers have to endure, while being offered cash for destroying their land and cattle.

Exactly what was the purpose of those policies? Over the past 15 years, our industrial and agricultural production has gone down the drain, and not just since 2007.

ultimate warrior's picture

You can milk anything with nipples. 

akak's picture

That is very true --- the banking industry has been milking all of us for centuries.  But I have to say, my nipples are really starting to hurt (as well as go dry).

Stuntgirl's picture

Indeed, some nipples do go dry.


Pseudolus's picture

Not so simple. No Emerald Isle fer sure, but Greece, the southern Balkans indeed, has plenty of grass & dairy. Not bad price too, if you buy fresh and local, instead of homogenised or imported Parmalat piss.

We're townies and buy raw that comes in every morning. Cows are walked past our villa twice a day and the herdsmen has a tax free income comparable to a post-tax graduate in the UK. Better life? De gustibus...

Of course, smallholders 'can't compete' with agro-business. But thats on price and many still look at it from the other end: agro-giants can't compete with the smallholders on what really matters, Quality

Im sure you know from looking closer to home, the only thing keeping the surviving Eire agriculture going is subsidy - either by direct cash transfer or through indirect mechanisms like regulations and credit terms.

To my mind, many people like the Greeks who are 'left behind' are left with only their strategm for survival - dependence due to 'learned helplessness.' A whole way of life, a culture in fact, is being lost - has been lost - in a kind of epochal forgetting due to decades of cultural attrition and mass migration. A minor example, olive picking tells you much you need to know about the wests "development." A modern greek family will spray their hundred trees with pesticide ("its organic", yeh right, more like some untraceable asiatic toxic fakery) and bemoan the seriously large amount of man hours needed for spraying and cleaning the olives, besides the increasing costs of the 'cide (discounting the health risks). Traditionally, as is still done in more rural parts of Greece and in the least developed (less stupid) rest of the Balkans, scrub would be simply raked and burned under the tree to encourage insects/cicada to leave before the shaking starts. Costless, less work, cleaner, healthier and better for the environment. But obviously such paractises are outmoded and not to be promoted in current rural development programs, as they add fuck all to the GDP.

It is what it is. Just as we 'get the politicians we deserve', do we not also end up with an economy that reflects our mores (theres a wheatgerm of truth in both)



Stuntgirl's picture

There's been a lot of cash pumped in to promote this learned helplessness. Together with regulation designed to take out small producers and intensify production at just a few larger producers.

If you are a smallholder you get pesticides and frankenseeds pushed on you and health agencies will be on your ass if you don't use them while they are somehow unconcerned about larger producers.

I'm kinda hoping this all blows up before the old people who still remember how to live die out and can't pass it on.


THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The Irish hay making   / small farming culture was destroyed by european over production policies of the 70s.

Much of the hedgerows were pulled down for example.

The corncrake disappeared when once it was everywhere .......its summer creking driving farmers nuts.

Smaller farmers were less productive but also less input sensitive as they did not get into debt.

Irish Farmers got into debt to the banks in the 1970s driving a massive agri - land bubble ........this went bust in the early - mid 80s


Still Greece cannot produce much milk in the lowlands.

Go back to transhumance grazing and med crops in the lowlands


Milk intake in creameries (Jan - Jul 2012)

Greece   : 396,000 tonnes

Spain    :3,611 ,000 tonnes

Ireland : 3,614,000 tonnes........... (Ireland is a small country)

(see bottom table.)


At one time Cork city butter market set the global price for butter........

Just saying like.

Its time we all got out of the european experiment.

It has been a disaster since day 1.

akak's picture

Dork, I always appreciate your perspective, and your posts.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Thanks Akak  - some people not so much..............

Irish farmers were for most of the time , net savers the Sterling zone years (up to 1979) I guess their savings found their way back in London.........

The Brits then bought the produce. 

Looking back at it now the 1970s were the golden "growth" years for the Irish economy despite the troubles up North (down south the North was like a different planet)

We were in a more optimal monetary envoirment (inflation but wage inflation also ) but with European fiscal funds the Brits would never dream of giving us.  

Well the dream now has become a  nightmare.

1 million more people to feed then in 1990 but heading towards 1990 like energy consumption levels soon.............

Almost Everything post 1986 (European single act) has been pointless for most and much of the stuff done in the 1970s was a pure waste.

All at the great cost of social cohesion which has been destroyed for the "growth" God

jcamargo's picture

Good luck trying to reach economies of scale in Greece, even with government help. What European farmers really love is a subsidy. They are too domesticated to remember how things used to be in the real world. Farmers around the wolrd would just stop losing money on milk and shift over to something else. That is what a price signal is for.

Ginsengbull's picture

Seems like a good climate to grow coca leaves.

a growing concern's picture

If you've written off your life and are determined to end it, why not exact some retribution for the destruction of your country while you're at it? Just a suggestion.

end-of-daze's picture

That is a bad idea if you like to read this site - and Reggie Middleton's.

merizobeach's picture

I guy I know who called it the "Take A Fascist With You Plan".  He wanted to train the terminally ill to be marksmen.

obessoligarch's picture

in case of greek babes,we should find all the milk that is needed!!![/img][/url]

Tsunami Wave's picture

How much has the prostitution rate jumped in Greece??

DaveyJones's picture

in or out of the legislature?

goat's picture

Thank you.


As I type this, just to the left is an advertisement for The graphic is a very curious looking goat.  They are everywhere!

Miss Expectations's picture

10 acres with 200 cows = 20 cows/acre.  This isn't a farm, it's a feed lot.  I remember a rule of thumb that you needed 2 acres of good pasture for 1 horse.  I would imagine that a milk producing cow would need even more (plus lots and lots of water).  I just don't see how this business model could work as all the feed has to be imported from the USA.    Goats would be a better choice.

Farming is extremely difficult when you need to buy retail (feed) and sell your product (milk) wholesale.

Aren't Greeks lactose intolerant?

Matt's picture

There is plenty of fail in the system:

1) the government won't let people just use pasture as it is available. I'm guessin this means a person cannot just lease out land to a farmer to harvest, or let the cattle graze on. Instead, you have to agree 4 years in advance and fill out paperwork and wait.

2) the farmers are preventing the milk from lasting more than 5 days by either a) reducing the effectiveness of the pasturizing? or b) simply preventing a rule change. Around here, milk is usually good for maybe 14 days? Not certain but quite a lot more than 5 days.

3) direct sales from farms. the farmers could get 0.75 euros per litre, making themselves more money and saving customers.

4) people living on little islands either need their own goats, canned milk, or stop drinking milk.

akak's picture


4) people living on little islands either need their own goats, canned milk, or stop drinking milk.

Matt, what you say here makes perfect sense, but I assume that this Greek island situation is analogous to the rural Bush village situation here in Alaska, where many dozens if not several hundred villages exist far off the road system and where EVERYTHING is expensive to supply them, but it is utterly political forbidden here to acknowledge the fact that the Bush villages are economic black holes into which government-subsidized resources flow, but from which little or nothing flows back. 

However, just try to discuss why one hundred thousand people should still live in remote locations in Alaska only because those locations made sense to their hunter-gatherer ancestors, whose old society has now been largely superseded by the modern American way of life, and you will be instantly shouted down by the politically-correct and accused of "racism" and "discrimination".  Well, sorry, but reality itself discriminates against the expensive and the unsustainable.

BooMushroom's picture

10 acres, 6 goats per acre (with no feed costs) times 6 pounds per doe is 360 pounds per day, versus 11,000 pounds per day with cows and purchasing feed.

You'd have to have 183 goats per acre to match the output of cows on commercial feed, and worms would be an issue very quickly. They'd have to pay tons for pesticides and worming medicine, too.

If I lived in Greece and had a little land, yeah, I'd have a goat. 3 quarts per day would cover our family of 5 just fine. A dozen chickens would produce 8 eggs per day. A couple hogs. Olive trees, chestnuts, carob, oranges, a big garden.

And then I would still need a job to pay their ridiculous taxes.

jballz's picture


I tried goats milk recently, for the first time since I was a very young child. We had a goat on our farm and it was our only source of milk.

Anyway a couple months ago I'm in the hippy store and see orgaanic goats milk, fogure what the hell and bought a half gallon. 

I found it to be quite wrteched, and despite several attempts to reacquaint I wound up throwing most of it out.

Is there a quality issue or does it just taste gamey compared to cows milk? I'm a milk snob anyway and only drink grass fed organic, but was surprised at how awful goats milk tasted... wondering if you have to revquire the taste or is there something I am missing...

akak's picture

jballz, that very strong taste that you found in the goats milk from the store was the result of the pasteurization process that ALL milk must be subjected in order to (legally) sell it.  I can assure you that fresh, raw (unpasteurized) goats milk does NOT taste anything like that at all!  It is actually quite subtle in taste, yet indescribably more delicious than store-bought milk, either cow's or goat's.

isitmereally's picture

Good comment. The article also said "His farm is too small for him to grow fodder for his total herd of 440 animals", so the density's even higher. It's not a farm and I doubt anyone will be drinking milk he's produced a few years from now.

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

I like that the "Public Order Minister" gets to report on the suicide rate.

Maybe they should make suicide illegal...with, like, a life sentence for anyone found guilty?