Farmers ramp up protests over unfair pricing
Farmers act over the poor farmgate prices
they receive with another stint of protests.
03 Aug 2015
BY Olivia Midgley
Farmers emptied Morrisons’ milk shelves
Farmers have ramped up action over the poor farmgate prices they receive with another stint of protests.
Groups of dairy farmers across the UK, including in Northern Ireland, South Gloucestershire, North Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall bought all the milk in several branches of Morrisons in protest at the price the supermarket pays for milk.
The group said the retailer paid as little as 74p for four pints of milk which they have argued was too low.
The supermarket chain said it had already agreed not to accept further cost price decreases from suppliers.
Morrisons Group commercial director Darren Blackhurst said: “As a leading British retailer Morrisons is focused on delivering great value and we try to pass on lower prices to our customers wherever possible.
“We do recognise however, due to reduced global demand, that this has created an oversupply of British milk creating difficult conditions for many dairy farmers at present.
“At a constructive meeting on Wednesday with the NFU Dairy Board Chairman, we confirmed that Morrisons is not accepting any further cost price decreases from our suppliers driven by the falling farm gate milk price.”
Users of the Farmers For Action Facebook page tried to galvanise support from the wider public by sharing posts about the #milktrolleychallenge events and used social media to organise further action.
Others shared an online petition which calls for the introduction of minimum milk prices.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105450
Chris Charles who set up the petition, said: “I am a young man and I work as a Dairy Service Engineer.
I have been in the job for nearly four years and for that whole period the milk prices have only been dropping.
This doesn’t only affect farmers, it affects every other industry that works within a farming environment.”
It came as representatives of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the National Farmers Union and NFU Scotland met in Belfast to discuss the deteriorating situation in the dairy sector.
UFU president Ian Marshall said: “We’ve seen consumers say that they are willing to pay more for milk as long as farmers get their fair share too. There is a need to respect the mutual reliance that exists within the supply chain.
“Retailers must act in an ethical and responsible way to support farmers, processors and consumers and ensure that there is enough value being passed down the supply chain on all dairy products. The farming unions will continue to engage with retailers to call for genuine support for farmers.”
However the unions have distanced themselves from the protests. FFA chairman David Handley said consumers should not be dragged into the argument.
The week-long boycott, spearheaded by a group of Welsh farmers frustrated by the six-year low in lamb prices, calls for producers to withhold lambs from the market
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