IFA calls out retailers over milk pricing
The Irish Farmers Association has used the occasion of winter price negotiations to criticise retailers for their lack of solidarity with farmers over the pricing of milk.
13 September 2018
With winter price negotiations about to commence between farmers and dairies over fresh milk for the retail trade, IFA national liquid milk chairman John Finn has called on dairies to “significantly lift” their winter payments to farmers, to match the massive increase in the cost of feed due to the unprecedented weather Ireland has experienced for much of 2018 – at both ends of the spectrum.
Finn said that after meeting with retailers such as Iceland, Aldi and Tesco (and more in the coming weeks), he saw from them no solidarity with farmers. Instead, they “obstinately” continue with unsustainable discounting a time in which farmers are in crisis.
“Retailers and our co-op-owned, fresh milk processing dairies, must practice the Origin Green principles they claim to espouse,” said Finn, “and ensure that their sourcing of milk is sustainable, from an environmental perspective as well as from an economic and social point of view.
“Put simply,” he added, “they must increase the value available to remunerate producers in this time of crisis.”
According to Teagasc, the severe weather will see farmers forced to spend up to 75% more feeding their cows this winter. That cost is predicted to be far greater for milk producers, whose cows are required to keep producing throughout the winter.
“The fact is,” Finn said, “most farmers do not have that sort of cash flow availability, especially at a time of increased financial demands in other areas.”
According to John Finn, other areas have shown solidarity with farmers, such as co-ops providing favourable credit facilities, rebates and more; Teagasc has helped farmers to budget; the government has provided subsidies and so on.
“So,” he said, “I and my fellow liquid milk producers ask, where are the retailers in this time of severe crisis for farmers? They have an opportunity to prove the credibility of their commitment to Origin Green by working to ensure the price they pay for milk from here on in is adequate to remunerate farmers fairly, starting with the coming winter months.”