Bri­tish farm­ers de­clare ‘cri­sis’ fol­low­ing milk price protests

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & -

Bri­tish farm­ers de­clared a “cri­sis” on Mon­day af­ter days of protests over fall­ing prices that saw milk re­moved from shop shelves and cows walked up su­per­mar­kets aisles.

Farm­ers’ unions held an emer­gency sum­mit on Mon­day over low milk and meat prices, in a bid to ease the plight of pro­duc­ers as global good prices drop.

“Ob­vi­ously the in­dus­try is in cri­sis. There’s de­spair within our mem­bers,” said Meurig Ray­mond, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Farm­ers’ Union.

“I’ve been farm­ing for 45 years and this is the worst I’ve known, par­tic­u­larly the dairy sec­tor and the lamb sec­tor.”

The av­er­age price paid to farm­ers for a liter of milk is just un­der 24 pence (US$0.37), a drop of 25 per­cent in a year, while farm­ers’ unions es­ti­mate it costs be­tween 30 and 32 pence to pro­duce.

In protest, farm­ers have de­scended on su­per­mar­kets to buy up their en­tire stocks of milk in out­lets of Mor­risons, Asda and Lidl, and have block­aded dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters.

Over the week­end, about 70 de­mon­stra­tors herded two cows into a branch of Asda in the cen­tral English town of Stafford in act of protest.

The Na­tional Farm­ers’ Union warned that the low prices could mean that Bri­tish milk prod­ucts could dis­ap­pear from shelves.

But su­per­mar­kets have re­jected the cism, ar­gu­ing they are the wrong tar­get.

“There is no con­nec­tion be­tween the price of milk in su­per­mar­kets and the price re­tail­ers pay farm­ers for their milk,” said a spokesman for the Bri­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium.

“We un­der­stand the cur­rent frus­tra­tion of farm­ers but it is wrong to blame re­tail­ers.”

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