GWELO, Friday, November 11, 1966 — Within two minutes of being asked to accept or reject the new milk quota system offered to Rhodesian dairy farmers by the Minister of Agriculture, members of the Midlands branch of the Dairy Producers’ Association unanimously rejected it at Gwelo this afternoon.
The chairman, Mr HP Raynor, had outlined the Minister’s scheme. The rejection was followed by many harsh words from men who felt they had a grievance. At the end of the meeting the following resolution was approved: “The meeting supports the association’s request for a margin of 5d. per gallon for milk delivered to the Dairy Marketing Board on the grounds that any lower margin is unrealistic.”
“The meeting therefore (a) rejects the Minster’s proposals, and (b) accepts that it may be necessary to tie any pricing arrangement to the present level of production”.
This, it was said, was in line with a resolution passed at Gatooma this morning. Mr Raynor told the meeting:” I don’t believe in the scheme myself ”.
Farmers were now getting 33d a gallon for their milk. Under the Minister’s scheme they would get about 32d. Four or five years ago there were about 500 dairy farmers. Now there were 440 odd.
This is an industry such as theirs, was the “writing on the wall”
Mr Raynor said the position had changed for the worse since last year. “Our costs have gone up by 11 percent and at the same time prices have come down by 15 percent”. If prices were raised to 38d. a gallon the man who produced 120 gallons a day could earn £75 a month. The 38d. a gallon could be achieved, said Mr Raynor, or by putting up milk prices or by a subsidy, but the government had given a frank “no” to these choices.
The necessary subsidy, he said would cost only £370 000 a year, which was a fleabite — chicken feed — to the country.