Farmers are yet again witnessing consumers being asked to pay more for their
milk but seeing no benefit at the farmgate.
Tesco was the first to announce an increase in its retail milk
price of 2.2 pence per litre, and now all of the major retailers
have followed suit with increases of between 2 and 4 pence per
litre. The supermarkets claim that the rise comes after increased
pressure from processors to retrieve more out of the marketplace
to cover increased costs. It has not yet been confirmed whether
any of this increase will be passed back to the farmers.
Willie Lamont, NFU Scotland Milk Committee Chairman, speaking
at the committee meeting on 25 January, said:
"More and more we are hearing from consumers themselves
that they are keen to support Scottish farming.
"It therefore defies logic that when consumers are asked
to pay more for a high quality product like milk, none of this
increase in price seems to find its way back to the farmer.
"We hear time and time again from both supermarkets and
processors that due to the higher costs they are facing they
are increasing the retail price or cutting the price paid to
farmers. Farmers are facing increased costs too (in the last
18 months to 2 years, costs have gone up by as much as 3 pence
per litre in some cases), but they have nowhere to pass that
extra cost down to.
"Early last year, the retail price of milk went up by an
average of 3 pence per litre and farmers were promised 1.5 pence
of that. However, many farmers have seen nothing and even those
best off only saw 0.7 pence. This situation is wrong and unjust.
Supermarkets, and in some cases processors too, are seeing their
profit margins rise while dairy farmers across Scotland continue
to go out of business.
"It looks like nothing has changed in 2006 as we continue
to see retail prices rise with no promise of any of this ever
reaching the farmer. Dairy farmers still live in fear that the
farmgate price will be cut yet again and that their livelihoods
could be shattered.
"Farmers have cut costs to the bone and now need a fair
farmgate price in order to be sustainable. When consumers are
crying out for quality Scottish produce and when governments
are calling for farmers to take impeccable care of the countryside,
it is disgraceful that retailers and processors are grinding
farm businesses into the ground for their own gain.
"There is real anger amongst members of the Milk Committee
today and we will not rest until we see Scottish farmers getting
a fair share of the profit margin, not only on milk but on all
"It is time that supermarkets stopped trying to con the
consumer into believing that when they pay more they are doing
anything other than lining the pockets of the supermarkets themselves."
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