Speaking to Irish consumers and retailers today on World Milk Day, IFA National Liquid Milk Chairman John Finn urged them, in these unprecedented times of pandemic, to especially value the locally produced fresh milk which they expect to find every day on their supermarket shelves, and to make sure the farmers are paid a fair price for their hard work.
“It is worth remembering that our essential workers – 1,800 specialised farmers, milk collection truck drivers and processing plant staff – play a vital role in making sure that we can find a carton or a bottle of locally produced, high quality fresh milk for our tea and our cereals in every shop, every day of the year, even during lockdown,” he added.
“Farmer who produce this fresh milk have worked tirelessly this spring to calve cows and plan next autumn and spring’s breeding seasons, and are now harvesting silage for winter fodder. Their necessary specialisation for year-round production means that their costs are higher than spring milk producers, whose milk is mostly destined for processing into exportable commodities. It is essential that their hard work is recognised and better wholesale prices paid as retailers negotiate with dairies over the coming weeks,” he said.
“Retail grocery sales increased by over 17% between late February and late April 2020 according to Kantar Worldpanel. This trend also benefited sales of liquid milk, including buttermilk and cream as baking and cooking at home increased during lockdown,” he added.
“Retailers and consumers must not take fresh milk for granted. Farmers must be paid a fair share of the improved returns retailers have enjoyed because of increased retail sales,” he concluded.