Reproduced from ‘Our Solihull’ site:
In a press release received today, energetic and knowledgeable West Midlands Euro MP, Phillip Bennion, says that consumers should follow farmers’ warnings and boycott supermarkets who fail to pay a fair price for local milk. He spoke to local farmers about the crisis yesterday and has been discussing these issues at European level.
British farmers already on the edge of bankruptcy erupted in protests after supermarkets refused to pay more for milk, causing dairies to try and cut the price they paid to farmers. Some supermarkets, notably Morrisons and Co-op, have now raised their wholesale prices paid for milk.
Dr Bennion, an arable farmer from Haunton near Tamworth with a doctorate in agronomy, says: “I can understand the desperation and anger felt by dairy farmers who now have to sell milk for less than the price of bottled water.
Ofcom-style supermarket regulator needed with more pro-active regulatory action – the voluntary approach is not enough
“The behaviour by some supermarkets screwing down the milk price paid to farmers to impossible levels is outrageous. This is yet more evidence of the need for an effective supermarket regulator, as advocated by the Liberal Democrats for years, especially the Cornish MP Andrew George.
“We now see some supermarkets waking up as people power hits them where it hurts. The combination of farmer protests and consumers switching to the supermarkets that pay a fair price shows what can be achieved by modern communications.”
He added that the recent protests also highlight the need for the government to introduce an Ofcom-style supermarket regulator using more pro-active regulatory action – the voluntary approach is not enough.
Dr Bennion added that dairy farmers in particular needed Cost of Production contracts which allow prices paid to vary:
“Supermarkets need continuity of supply and therefore long term contracts. However, dairy farmers’ costs such as grain are highly volatile. It is no-one’s interest for dairies and supermarkets to drive their suppliers into the ground when input costs are high.”
FFA website: “ASDA miraculously finds another 2ppl to add to its farmgate price for milk. Although we welcome this further increase which takes their litre price to farmers to 29.5ppl, we still require them to commit that this money will be linked into a cost of production formula so that they can never again pull the price back.”