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Asda pledges to pay more to farmers - without raising cost of milk

ASDA has said it will increase the price it pays to its dairy farmers - without raising the price of milk for customers Picture by Aidan O'Reilly
John Monaghan

NORTHERN Ireland dairy farmers will receive 28p per litre for their milk from Monday from Asda, after the supermarket giant confirmed it has agreed a deal with processor Dale Farm.

Asda has pledged to increase the price it pays its milk suppliers – without passing on the increase to customers.

A spokeswoman said its deal with Great Britain supplier Arla will be mirrored in the north and “in line with the rest of the business we are increasing the price we pay to 28 pence per litre from Monday, which will assist our farmers during the current crisis”.

“Asda’s origins are in dairy farming, which is why we are acting in the best interests of our farmers and our customers by increasing the price we pay and not passing on any of the costs to customers – our retail price in Asda’s Northern Ireland stores stays the same,” she said.

Dale Farm is the farmer-owned processing arm of United Dairy Farmers, which supplies Asda in Northern Ireland. 

Ulster Farmers Union president Ian Marshall described the move as a “significant development” for the industry.

“This is a step in the right direction to ensure that consumers continue to have access to high quality locally produced food and it also recognises that farmers need a fair price to produce what consumers and retailers want,” he said.

Asda has said it will pay 28p per litre, which has been welcomed by farming unions in Britain although it is less than the 30p per litre cost of production estimated by some
farmers.

It represents an increase of between 5p and 10p on what many farmers receive from supermarkets.

Protests have been held in the north by dairy farmers angry that supermarkets have been selling milk at a loss, action which they claim threatens dairy farms with closure.

On Tuesday a protest at Lidl’s distribution centre in Nutts Corner, Co Antrim, prevented around 12 lorries from entering and exiting.

Dairy farmers claim they are receiving around 10p less per litre of milk than last summer.

Retailers have blamed global economic trends for the price slump affecting farmers.

Protest group Farmers for Action has said it plans to hold a protest outside the offices of the European Commission in Belfast at noon on Monday August 24.

Farmers have been calling on the EU to review pricing structures for its products.

The group has invited “all farming families involved in producing beef, lamb, cereals, vegetables, milk, chicken and pork” to the protest.

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