Dairy processors must pass on price gains - UFU

William Irvine
William Irvine

Dairy processors must move to maximise returns to dairy farmers a senior Ulster Farmers’ Union official has claimed.

Dairy chairman William Irvine said that despite better markets, thanks to the weakening of sterling, most dairy farmers were still living with a milk price well below the true cost of production.

“Farmers in Northern Ireland are well aware that prices for cheese, butter and milk powder have moved upwards over recent weeks.

“The unacceptable delays we are seeing in processors passing the benefits of these price gains to farmers is a source of concern and growing frustration.”

“Indeed many farmers now feel they are being duped by processors, who have no excuse not to pay better prices,” he said.

He added that deliberately delaying price improvements was ‘deeply unfair’ to farmers who have suffered over two years of poor returns.

“They know from us and their own suppliers that this has had a devastating impact on many farm businesses.

“The DAERA average for August was just 19.77 pence per litre. There is no question that this is lagging well behind what the market is returning.

“There are more price increases to come but processors need to act more rapidly if they want to guarantee a future supply of milk.”