Liquid milk producers seek fairness from retailers
Irish farmers are urging retailers to follow the example of France and pass back increased wholesale prices to milk suppliers.
IFA president, Joe Healy, was speaking during a protest by liquid milk producers outside Dunnes Stores and Aldi in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
Liquid milk producers are a specialist group traditionally paid a premium price to cover the extra feed costs involved in producing milk in off-peak months to ensure Ireland’s year-round access to domestic milk supplies.
“Specialist liquid milk producers, like all primary fresh food producers, depend on being able to make a reasonable income from the retail chain.
“This is something that is being recognised in Europe, with draft legislation on equity in the food chain expected next year, and French retailers currently agreeing to pass back increased wholesale prices to farmers,” said Joe Healy.
The IFA leader said that instead of these short term, ill-thought out tactics, dairies and retailers should take a leaf out of their French counterparts’ book, by making a public commitment to pay an increased price within the chain that allows for farmers to make a reasonable living, cover their costs and pay themselves a modest wage.
“Only this type of approach will secure the sustainability of locally produced, high-quality, fresh milk for Irish consumers for the long term,” said Mr The IFA says farmers are concerned that Dunnes Stores sale of discounted milk at 67c/l is degenerating into a milk price war. It says this will undermine fresh milk producers, with Aldi joining Dunnes this week.
“There is no such thing as cheap milk,” said Joe Healy.
“Fresh milk producers incur high costs and legitimately expect to be able to cover their costs and make a reasonable income from their specialist milk production. Yet, experience tells us that farmers always come out the worst of these cynical grabs for market share by retailers.
“Any apparent benefit for consumers is shortlived, with the security of yearHealy. round, local supplies of milk from freshly calved cows threatened by the erosion of margins in the chain.”
IFA national liquid milk chairman John Finn said the IFA has met most dairies and retailers — including Dunnes Stores and Aldi — to discuss the industry’s Milk Wise 2025 Strategy to protect the sustainability of fresh milk production in the best interest of consumers.
IFA president Joe Healy leads the liquid milk producer protest outside Dunne’s Stores and Aldi in Portlaoise.