Representatives of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU and the National Farmers Union of Scotland have met in Belfast to discuss the deteriorating situation in the dairy sector.
Speaking after the meeting UFU president Ian Marshall said: “International dairy markets are working against our hard working dairy farmers and the focus must be turned on the responsibility of retailers and others in the supply chain.
“Looking at AHDB dairy figures on butter and cheese prices it is evident that there have been huge falls in the wholesale price in the last 12 months. Wholesale butter prices have fallen by 28 per cent while wholesale mild cheddar has fallen by 25 per cent. At the same time the retail price of butter has increased marginally by 0.1 per cent increase while the retail value of cheese has fallen, but only by 3.4 per cent.
“The simple question now is who is making money from cheese and butter – as it’s clearly not our farmers, some of which have seen a 50 per cent fall in farmgate prices over the same period.
“We’ve seen consumers say that they are willing to pay more for milk as long as farmers get their fair share too. There is a need to respect the mutual reliance that exists within the supply chain.
“Retailers must act in an ethical and responsible way to support farmers, processors and consumers and ensure that there is enough value being passed down the supply chain on all dairy products. The farming unions will continue to engage with retailers to call for genuine support for farmers.”