Dairy farmers protest at Glanbia

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Over 2,000 dairy farmers staged protests at Glanbia’s facilities in Kilkenny and Dungarvan



18 May 2009

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Over 2,000 dairy farmers staged protests at Glanbia’s facilities in Kilkenny and Dungarvan last month, to demand a reversal of the company’s March price cut, according to the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA).

The reduction to 20c a litre makes the price one of the lowest in the country, the IFA says, at a time when there is “an unprecedented income crisis on dairy farms.”

IFA National Dairy Committee chairman, Richard Kennedy said in Kilkenny: “At 20c a litre, milk producers are at a loss of 7c a litre. This means that this year, the average milk supplier will be €18,000 in the red.” Kennedy called on Glanbia to “prioritise the viability of their 4 ,000 farmer suppliers,” saying that “most efficient producers” require a minimum of 27c a litre to cover costs this year.

Michael Barry, director of Irish Dairy Industries Association, said that the current situation is one that “nobody envisaged happening.” He commented: “People were imagining worst case scenarios and financing their businesses on the basis of 27c to 28c [a litre].”According to Barry however, the European Commission has stabilised the price of milk for dairy ingredients at 20c a litre, through its ‘Intervention’ oversupply buy-up scheme, and that there must be “casualties” in the European dairy industry in order correct the supply-demand imbalance currently impacting the market.

Barry said that while some believe the market may start to recover by the end of this year, projections are “still in best guess territory.” Long-term, he believes dairy has potential as an important growth sector for Ireland, but that it will progress and expand though “very volatile” conditions. Meantime, how businesses cope with the current price slump “is only going to be resolved at farm level and at factory level,” said Barry.



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