Petition keeps UK dairy farmers in the spotlight

UK - Public pressure on UK supermarkets and dairy firms over farmgate milk prices grew this week when a consumer group handed a petition to Parliament, calling for government action
calendar icon 1 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The petition, signed by 72 ,000 people and compiled by the National Federation of Women's Institutes (WI) since last July, was handed to Caroline Spelman MP to read out in the UK House of Commons.

The move keeps farmgate milk prices firmly in the public spotlight only a week after the UK's competition watchdog said it would investigate further alleged unfair treatment of dairy farmers, as part of its grocery supply chain probe.

Almost 1,000 dairy farmers have left the industry over the last year, industry figures show, prompting concerns about the country's future milk supply.

Average prices paid to milk producers have fallen from 24 pence per litre (ppl) 10 years ago to around 18ppl, below the cost of production for some.

Fay Mansell, NFWI Chair said: "British dairy farmers are struggling to survive. They are routinely being paid below the cost of production and being systematically forced out of the industry. Supermarkets are making profit selling milk at the expense of dairy farmers."

Several farmer groups, including Farmers For Action and the Farmers' Union of Wales, joined the WI to hand over the petition in London, Tuesday.

Notably absent was the National Farmers' Union (NFU), the country's biggest union for dairy farmers, however. NFU officials have sought to publicly distance themselves from groups like Farmers For Action, which are more activist.

Source: Dairy
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