Scottish Greens push for action on supermarkets over dairies

By agency reporter
August 3, 2012

Scottish Greens are urging Scottish government ministers to do much more to tackle supermarkets' stranglehold on the country's dairy farmers.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, has met with a local independent dairy farmer and milk supplier to hear first-hand the issues the sector is facing.

A number of processors and supermarkets have caved in to recent pressure and postponed this week's planned cuts to the price they pay suppliers but the Greens believe only fundamental reform will end the crisis.

Ms Johnstone declared: "It's encouraging to see the planned cuts shelved but I'm afraid these ruthless retail giants will continue to flog staple items such as milk for pennies to lure customers in.

"While I welcome the efforts being made by the Scottish Government they need to face some home truths about their love of supermarkets.

"By contrast, Bonaly-Fairfield Farm Dairy, which I visited the other day, is a great example of how the price the customer pays can be kept low without penalising the farmer. Owner Donald Laird is producing 40,000 litres of milk a day, selling direct to local shops, hotels and restaurants with no big processors or supermarkets creaming off profits."

The Green MSP concluded: "I hope more of us buy local where we can and I will continue to press SNP ministers to properly challenge the dominance of the big retailers and processors. They must be prepared to use legislation if the proposed voluntary code of practice fails; this is about the livelihoods of families whose farming is crucial to our economy and our food chain."


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