IFA National Liquid Milk Committee Chairman Teddy Cashman today (Wed) said specialist liquid milk producers were taking their campaign to the city centre of Dublin to highlight the fact that they are broke supplying year-round the fresh quality milk consumers depend on finding on supermarket shelves.
“If we have learned anything in recent weeks, it is that it costs money to produce quality food. In recent years, increased pressures on margins along the retail chain have left us farmers, the last link in that chain, having to take prices which leave us at a loss,” he said.
Mr Cashman explained to shoppers on Grafton St that, to guarantee constant supplies of fresh, high-quality milk on supermarket shelves for consumers, liquid milk producers have to produce milk year-round. This involves substantially higher costs than those incurred by creamery milk suppliers, especially in the areas of feed and energy.
“While every dairy operates different milk pricing systems, liquid milk producers today are producing milk for a price which does not cover our production costs. We need an annual average price of 40c/l to cover costs and pay a modest wage for our own labour, but our prices fall around 7c/l short of this break-even target,” he said.
Teddy Cashman said, “This means that the specialist liquid milk supplier producing 250,000 litres is losing €17,500 over a whole year’s milk supplies. This situation is totally unsustainable, and over a relatively short period of time will put the availability of locally produced, fresh, high quality milk under threat.”
“To remunerate liquid milk producers fairly, dairies need to sell our milk harder and negotiate the equivalent of an additional 8% of the current average retail price to pass it back to us,” he said.
“This also means that retailers must take more responsibility for the sustainability of their supply sources, and this does not have to cost already hard pressed consumers,” he concluded