السبت , يونيو 6 2020

Supermarket in talks over milk prices

calf being milked

Farming industry leaders are due to meet bosses of the supermarket chain Morrisons to discuss the price of milk.

They say dairy farmers are struggling to stay in business because of a sharp drop in the amount they are paid.

On Monday farming unions met to develop an action plan calling for labels to indicate British products and long-term contracts for farmers.

Farmers have also been staging protests including taking two cows into a supermarket in Staffordshire.

Bosses from Morrisons will meet representatives from the UK’s four main farming unions – the National Farmers’ Union, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and the Ulster Farmers’ Union, along with lobby group Farmers for Action.

The supermarket has been one of the main targets for protesters who have stripped milk from the shelves before dumping the produce or giving it away for free.

Farmers for Action has asked its members not to target Morrisons any more because they have agreed to talks and union leaders are hoping other supermarkets will also join the discussions.


Cows were led into an Asda in Stafford on Sunday as part of the protests

The NFU said its new plan included calls for the government to take action “to ensure that contracts to all farmers are longer-term and fairer in apportioning risk and reward”.

It also pushed for rules to be put in place regarding labelling “so that it is clear and obvious which products are imported and which are British”.

The union also said it wanted retailers to “stop devaluing” British food “purely to get customers through the door”, and the EU to underwrite the short-term credit position of vulnerable farmers.

Arla, Britain’s biggest milk co-operative of about 3,000 British dairy farmers, previously announced a price cut of 0.8p per litre – taking the standard litre price to 23.01p for its UK members.

Ash Amirahmadi, who is head of milk and member services at Arla, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it is vitally important that consumers understand more about where the product has come from.

“Dairy is an important part of the UK economy, but it is an even more important part of the rural economy.”

British dairy organisation AHDB Dairy said the average UK farm gate price was 24.06p per litre in May, a decrease of a quarter over 12 months.

Farmers estimate it costs 30-32p to produce each litre of milk.

Morrisons has said it is not seeking any further reductions in milk prices.

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