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Country News - 2002

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Shoppers back dairy farmers
Monday 12 August

More than 80% of shoppers say they would be willing to pay up to 5p more for their daily pinta if they knew the money was going directly to dairy farmers, according to a survey conducted by the National Farmers' Union.

It comes at a time when British dairies pay less for their milk than anyone else in Europe - causing dairy farmers to quit the land here in ever growing numbers.

NFU Deputy President Tim Bennett welcomed the response from the survey, which, he claims, highlights the injustice of the farm-gate price of milk.

The news comes just a month after a further cut of more than a penny to the price paid to dairy farmers was pushed through by processors, leaving some farmers receiving 4 pence per litre (ppl) LESS than it costs to produce.

Commenting on the survey of 1,000 shoppers, Tim Bennett said: "These findings show that while retail price wars and promotions "de-sensitise" many shoppers to the costs of food production, they do care and they don't want to see farmers ripped off.

"Farmers will be heartened by this clear show of support for Britain's dairy industry."

The survey shows:
  • 60% of city dwellers DO NOT realise most dairy farmers get less for a pint of milk than it costs to produce
  • 40% of people can't recall how much they pay for a pinta, even though they buy it every other day BUT
  • 84% of people would pay 5p more if it went to help farmers
The NFU, which has been campaigning against the ten-year low in prices paid to dairy farmers, says there needs to be a shake up in the share out of the milk price to prevent further irreparable damage being caused to dairy production in Britain.

Figures show in the six years to June 2000, the number of dairy herds in the UK shrank by a staggering 21% - a reduction of 378,000 animals. In 2000 alone, an estimated 8% of UK dairy farmers quit the industry to escape plummeting returns.

On average, British farmers receive just 16ppl for milk, putting them at the bottom of the EU milk price league. Farmers in Italy receive 22ppl.

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