Co-ops called on to ‘review’ milk price announcement

Calls have been made for both Glanbia and Lakeland to announce that they will review their decisions last week “immediately” with a view to reversing the cuts made to overall milk price.

Commenting on the March milk price announcements made by the two co-ops, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA’s) Dairy Committee chairperson, Gerald Quain, said that farmers “were entitled to be both cynical and very angry”.

He explained: “It is an extraordinary situation where the Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) can rise month after month with either no corresponding rise in farmer milk price, or price rises that are wholly insufficient proportionate to the rise in the index.

We then see a marginal fall in the index that is largely explicable by factors outside dairy markets and literally that week farmers see their milk price cut.

Continuing, Quain said: “The fact is that Irish co-ops have been lagging near the bottom of the European milk-price table for a very considerable time.

“They are already underpaying on any kind of ‘like-for-like’ comparison with their European counterparts,” he remarked.

“The ICMSA will not accept the idea that a fall in the Ornua PPI immediately translates back into a cut in farmer price.

“Co-ops will have to explain why increases in the index rarely seem to benefit farmers immediately but falls seem to be passed back to farmer milk price instantly.”

Quain also called on co-ops that have not yet announced their March price to state that their prices will not be cut.

“They need to show their farmer suppliers that they are not always looking for an opportunity to cut prices while looking for an excuse not to raise prices when the Ornua PPI goes up.”

Concluding, Quain stressed: “The decisions are intolerable and will be greatly resented by their suppliers.”