I probably get through, on my own, almost a litre of milk a day. I make my porridge with it, have it in coffee, and like it just to drink. Added to that I eat a lot of cheese – you get the idea – I’m very dependent on the dairy industry. And I do know the price of a pint – of milk that is.
I pay 90p in the shop across the road for a 2 pint carton of milk. Now supermarkets retail their milk at around 52p a litre and yet they buy milk from the farmer at 25p a litre. Since it costs the farmer roughly 30p to produce this milk, the farmer is producing milk at a loss. No wonder the number of dairy farmers has fallen in the last 15 years by more than 20,000 – down to just 14,500. Yet in the same period the profits the retailers make from milk has rocketed sixfold up from 2.6p to 15p a litre.
Not all retailers are the bad boys in this – some are worse than others. At least Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Sainbury’s and Waitrose have “aligned contracts” with their farmers which guarantee the farmers 30p a litre, ie the cost of production and no more. Morrison, Asda and the Co-Operative Group have yet to offer a fair price to farmers for their milk – so I won’t be buying my milk from them in future.
Fairtrade? We need FairMilk in this country – pay farmers a decent price for their milk and in the long term we’ll all benefit. It’s about time we stopped greedy firms from milking it!