Making Hay Over Dairy Price Protests? / 'Feed Cartel' Won't Swallow State's Finger-pointing

Livestock feed suppliers say they aren’t responsible for high prices but rather tax and the port fees.

Livestock feed suppliers took umbrage Monday over the state's accusation that they are first link in the chain lifting dairy prices, saying the state itself is the culprit. Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon had complained that high dairy prices start from feed suppliers forming cartels, and urged the Antitrust Authority to investigate

Milobuar Compound Livestock Feed head Luzi Hendel, representing the suppliers, fired a response to the ministers of finance and industry that one reason dairy prices cost so much starts with import tax and port fees on feed. They make keeping cows in food expensive.

Cows in Kibbutz Afikim
Yuval Tebol

The tax and the port fees for handling bulk grain are higher than elsewhere in the world, Hendel wrote. The dockworkers charge more for unloading feed than other dry bulk goods, he claimed - and both these elements, tax and port fees, are under government control.

The reason taxes and fees on imported feed are high is to protect local manufacturers, Hendel claimed.

The tax on soy bean pulp is 4.5% to 7.5% (of the importer's reported price paid ) depending on the country of origin. Import of other forms of pulp used in feed, including sunflower seeds and rapeseed, is 2.8%, though officials at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry have urged the tax be capped at 3% and ultimately abolished outright.