SUPERMARKETS need to support a dairy industry that is coping with the impacts of bushfires and ongoing drought, says Australia’s peak dairy farmer group.
National advocacy body Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has renewed calls for supermarkets to increase the retail price of discount milk to $1.50 per litre, with the increase going back to farmers.
“Farmers have been hit hard by the impacts of drought, bushfires, and of course high production costs,” ADF chief executive David Inall said.
“The price farmers pay for energy, and water and fodder for their cows remains high, but the retail price for their milk has stayed stubbornly low for almost a decade.”
Major retailers, led by Woolworths and Coles, last year increased the price of their private label milk brands from $1 per litre to $1.10 per litre, with farmers getting the full increase.
But Mr Inall said increasing the retail price of discount milk further to $1.50 per litre would reflect the inflation rises farmers should have received over the last decade to account for the current cost of production.
“We lost nearly 500 dairy farms in one year between 2017/18 and 2018/19 and since 2011, we have lost more than 1,500,” he said.
“Since 2011, the average profit for a dairy farm in Australia has been $41,553 per annum.
“If we are to stop farm exits and hardship, then retailers need to increase the price of their store brand retail fresh milk to $1.50 per litre with the increase going back to farmers via their processors.”
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud this morning called for a voluntary levy to support dairy farmers, arguing that it would allow the market to respond, with consumers making purchasing decisions that benefit farmers.
Mr Inall said the country’s approximate 5,200 dairy farmers appreciated the support of the Federal Government.
“It is fantastic to see that the Federal Government recognises this is a major issue for the industry and is prepared to continue pushing for dairy farmers to receive a fairer price for their product,” he said.
“The retail prices of other fresh food products tend to fluctuate with demand, but the shelf price of milk has remained relatively flat.”
Ashley Mackinnon, Public Affairs Manager
M: 0407 766 153