UK: Pressure mounts on Wiseman/Muller after dairies pledge to scrap milk price cuts
Farmers’ leaders have welcomed moves by dairies to reverse planned milk price cuts from August 1 but warned that the anti-milk price cut coalition’s fight to deliver a more sustainable future for British dairying goes on.
Farmer co-op, First Milk, yesterday announced it has withdrawn plans to cut its milk price to liquid and balancing producers in August.
This move was quickly followed by Dairy Crest announcing a two month stay of execution on its planned 1.65 pence per litre (ppl) price cut. Arla is expected to make an announcement today.
Today’s news piles on pressure on Wiseman / Muller to now come forward and commit to reversing their intended price cuts. Several major supermarket chains have announced commitments on milk pricing in recent days.
Since the Dairy Summit held in London by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, Farmers For Action, the Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA), and the Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU), peaceful protests have taken place outside dairy processors and supermarkets up and down the country.
The farming industry has also been lobbying hard at meetings with farming leaders, processors, retailers and politicians.
NFU President Peter Kendall said yesterday: “Farmers, their families and shoppers have supported this campaign to see a fair price paid to our dairy farmers. It has been an amazing show of strength and support.
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“I’m really pleased that farmer co-op First Milk has shown huge leadership and resolve today in sticking its neck out and announcing it will rescind its planned milk price cuts from August 1. Dairy Crest has followed by announcing a deferral of its planned cuts although it’s important to see this made permanent. And I am hoping to hear positive news from Arla tomorrow.
“There has been some fantastic work by a number of organisations and individuals on this issue in the past two weeks but we can’t – and won’t - take our eye off the ball. We are calling for the retailers Iceland and Farmfoods to ensure they start to pay a price to their milk suppliers that covers the cost of production. And all eyes are on the milk processor Wiseman / Muller to rescind its planned milk price cut before August 1. The pressure on this company’s brands must be felt after today’s announcements by its rivals.
“I believe only with all areas of the supply chain playing their part can we turn this situation around. I am committed to ensuring our dairy farmers have a secure future and we will continue to work extremely hard on the challenges that lie ahead.”
The dairy coalition will meet again in a week’s time.