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Country News - 2002

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Glimmer of hope in milk price talks
Thursday 12 September 2002

A GLIMMER of hope for dairy farmers being driven out of business by low milk prices has emerged from a series of talks this week between supermarket bosses and a team from the NFU.

As we reported in Requiem for a farmer two weeks ago (see A week in the country), thousands of farmers are losing money on every litre of milk their send to market.

Now, according to the NFU, the supermarkets are beginning to see that unless the farmers get a better price - at least 2p a litre more - the whole industry could collapse.

So far this week, the NFU team led by their Yorkshire farmer president Ben Gill has held talks with Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda - and says the results are "encouraging."

Says Mr Gill: "The major retailers acknowledge that dairy farmers need to receive a better return in the short-term if the long-term viability of the industry is to be maintained.

"While the talks are encouraging, the NFU will not let the matter rest until the positive statements by retailers translates into a price for farmers nearer the EU target price of 20p per litre."

So far, Tesco and Asda have raised their retail price by 2p a litre and it is hoped that this will go directly to the farmers.

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