Dairy farmers may stage protests at major retail stores if milk price doesn't increase significantly

File photo
File photo
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Dairy farmers are prepared to stage protests outside Aldi and Iceland supermarkets if the price of milk doesn’t increase.

John Wynne who is a dairy, tillage and beef farmer in Baltinglass in west Wicklow and member of the Fresh Milk Producers group (FMP) told FarmIreland that he could make a phone call and organise a large protest at a local Aldi store if the price of milk doesn't increase significantly.

“If we were to do a protest we would stage it in a safe and mannerly way. We wouldn’t block the doors, we’d organise it in advance and notify everyone involved.

“I could make a phone call to plenty FMP members and make it happen though."

John took to Twitter on Sunday night to voice his concerns at Aldi and Iceland's respective retail prices of €1.30 for two litres of milk and €2.60 for four litres.

The tweet said: I'm a liquid milk supplier in West Wicklow. My family business is being undermined by supermarkets like Aldi & Iceland selling milk under the cost of production. If anyone could help by not purchasing milk either shop until we get this sorted.

John said he wrote the tweet because he is afraid the under-cutting of milk prices will soon become a normal practice at other retail stores and that he wanted to call on consumers to boycott stores that are selling milk below the cost of production.

“I aware of the trouble that the FMP have negotiating with stores. They tell them they have to sell at the lowest price to remain competitive.

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"I’m worried that this lower price could spread to other stores and become the normal thing to do. This drought has shown us again how bad things can be for farmers. The price gathered for milk needs to be much higher than it is now," he said.

Chairperson of FMP Jim Mulhall last week slammed the pricing of Aldi and Iceland’s ‘socially irresponsible’ and said it is putting a complete supply chain of fresh perishable food in danger of being decimated in the Republic of Ireland.

“This is below the true cost of putting that milk on the shelf and is not economically sustainable. Iceland is also offering a deal of 4 litres of milk for €2.60 litre.

Mr Mulhall said that at this price point per litre, the supply chain can not support a sustainable price to pay the primary producer.

“While retailers may claim to bear the burden of below cost selling, history has shown us the opposite will ultimately happen, with price cuts ending up on the door of the farmer,” he said.

Commenting, an Aldi spokesperson said to ensure it continues to provide the very best value groceries in Ireland, it has reduced the prices of over 50pc of our product range in the past 12 months.

“Keeping with our commitment to our customers that we will not be beaten on price, we have introduced an additional branded fresh milk line in a select number of stores which retails at €1.30 for 2 litres, in response to local competition.”

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