The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has called on Aldi and Lidl to pay the same minimum milk price in Ireland as in the UK.

Pat McCormack, ICMSA Deputy President, was reacting to the news that Aldi and Lidl have promised to pay UK farmers 28p/L for milk as and from Monday August 17.

McCormack said that Irish farmers looked forward to receiving a similar price assurance as soon as possible.

He also said that the 28p/L UK price would translate to a price of the order of 38c/L in Ireland, a figure, McCormack noted, which was some 10c/L more than most Irish milk suppliers are currently receiving.

The ICMSA Deputy President called on the German-headquartered discount giants not to differentiate between Irish and English, Scottish and Welsh suppliers in terms of what they would pay as a minimum price.

Irish milk suppliers were entitled to assume that Aldi and Lidl will commit to a similar currency-adjusted minimum price here within the next few days, he said.

McCormack said that the announcement would prompt an intriguing question as to why Aldi and Lidl could pay a price equivalent to 38c/L, but Dunnes, Supervalu and Tesco could not – or would not.

“The milk price to farmers has fallen by about 35% in a year but hasn’t fallen to the consumer by a single cent so the retail multiples had obviously ‘gobbled up’ the farmers’ margins.”

He also said that retailers were now in the position where they seemed happy to watch milk suppliers actually losing money on producing the milk on which they – the supermarkets – are now taking an even bigger margin.

The ICMSA Deputy President said it was a grossly unfair system that’s gone on for far too long and which is steadily wiping out Europe’s indigenous family farm system and the community-based, sustainable model of farm that system guaranteed.