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Sainsbury's extra penny per litre for dairy farmers won't buy us off says Farron

July 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron today gave a limited welcome to the announcement that Sainsbury's plan to raise the farm gate price it pays to farmers for milk, but has argued that one pence per litre is simply inadequate. Many farmers are currently facing financial difficulties and Sainsbury's decision is part of what they describe as their continued commitment to the dairy industry. However, the average prices paid to farmers for a litre of milk has dropped considerably over the last few years, from 20.43p in July 2001 to just 17.17p in July 2006. At the same time the price of milk has increased with the average supermarket mark up on milk almost tripling from 11% in 2002 to the current 30%, bearing no reflection on production costs which have not altered.

Tim, who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy Farming, has frequently raised his concerns at the raw deal that dairy farmers receive from supermarkets like Sainsbury's. In the past Tim has tabled a parliamentary motion calling upon the Government to secure a better deal for milk farmers and has urged ministers to action against processors and retailers who unfairly offer poverty rates which can severely disadvantage farmers.

Tim Farron said:

"Sainsbury's decision is a small victory for farmers. Dairy farmers are being repeatedly exploited by supermarkets and forced to sell milk for less than it costs to produce. Although it is encouraging that the plight of dairy farmers has been given some recognition, we will not be bought off by one penny a litre.

"This is a desperate attempt by one of the largest retailers wary of public opinion to stave off criticism and prevent government intervention. We will continue to press the Government to put in place a supermarket regulator which is the only real solution to this issue."