IFA National Liquid Milk Chairman John Finn challenged the retailers which have a strong presence at this year’s Ploughing Championship to show real solidarity with some of the farmers hardest hit by the fodder crisis this year by pledging to desist from their aggressive, unsustainable discounting of fresh milk under their private labels. He said others should also follow suit, pointing out that one of the smaller players, Iceland, was the only one to have shown some support with a 2c/l farmer payment and the ending of one of the most extreme forms of discounting on the market.
“Aldi, Lidl and Tesco are all present here this year, and this year again they are getting massively positive exposure and brand benefit from their presence at the major national farming event which is the National Ploughing Championship,” Mr Finn said.
“All three are members of Origin Green, as are SuperValu/Musgrave who are not present at this year’s event. All four are supposedly committed to “sustainable sourcing” and “social sustainability” under the Bord Bia Origin Green retail charter,” he added.
“Sustainable sourcing and social sustainability must be about economic considerations not just less tangible, “feel good” things. The aggressive discounting all retailers in Ireland engage in on fresh milk applies at levels which do not allow for all the chain’s costs to be covered. It is not compatible with a sustainable food chain in which the primary producer can be sure to be fairly remunerated for his or her costs and labour. In conscience, especially in this year of fodder and cash flow crisis on liquid milk farms, retailers must stop with these unsustainable unfair trading practices,” he said.
“The National Ploughing Championship is a perfect opportunity for at least those present – others are encouraged to do the same – to declare that, in solidarity with the fodder-crisis struck farmers who supply them with fresh milk, they will re-evaluate their private label milk pricing policy. They must do so to ensure primary producers can be guaranteed a remuneration which will help them keep cows productive over the winter, and the fresh milk flowing for consumers,” he concluded.