Northern Rivers residents say they would pay more for milk
FOLLOWING a desperate plea calling for major supermarkets to raise the prices of generic milk brands last week, NSW Farmers are now asking Australians if they would pay more for their milk.
NSW Farmers dairy committee chair Colin Thompson said New Zealanders pay almost a dollar more for a single litre generic-label milk carton than Australian consumers, prompting the committee to ask why we can’t pay more here.
“$1.50-a-litre milk prices would provide farmers with a reasonable return, it would create margin for processors, and it would be affordable for consumers,” Mr Thompson said.
“If we take the New Zealand comparison example, 1 litre of private label milk retails at around $2.20, while here it is $1.30.”
We asked you if you would pay for more for your supermarket brand milk in order to support farmers.
The overwhelming majority of participants said they would pay more, with 89 per cent of respondents voting yes.
10 per cent of voters said no, while 1 per cent said they were unsure.
On the poll Coffee Camp resident Clomantagh said they would support a rise in the base price of milk.
“Milk is a food gained by the sweat of a farmer’s brow before dawn and again mid afternoon with no luxury of being able to be sick or take holidays,” they said.
“People pay far more for a litre of bottled water than they do for milk, often three or four times more in some cases.”
Lismore Heights resident Tina Rayner commented, saying she prefers private farmer-owned brands, even if they cost more than generic brands.
“My family always buys Norco,” she said.
“Ever since I was young my parents made sure we supported local dairy farmers by buying local. I’ll always pay more for milk by buying private brands rather than supermarket ones, because it means we’re helping locals feed their families too.”
Last week NSW Farmers spokesman Mr Thompson pleaded with major retailers to lift the price of their generic milk brands to $1.50 per litre to help sustain the NSW dairy industry.
“The end of the $1-a-litre milk prices at the start of the year provided some relief to dairy farmers, but a further price increase is needed to help NSW dairy farmers,” Mr Thompson said.
“Feed and water costs are skyrocketing in this unprecedented drought, but our milk prices on farm have only risen slightly.”
Mr Thompson said a price rise on generic milk brands by the major retailers Woolworths, Coles and Aldi would “inject much-needed money back into the industry and to farmers”.
NSW Farmers are also calling for increases in prices of other dairy products like cheese and butter.
Mr Thompson said retail milk prices are part of a bigger picture for the dairy sector, and that reforming Australia’s competition framework is the ultimate way of safeguarding the industry’s future.
“We need to have the power inequities along the dairy supply chain addressed but this will take time,” he said.
“A price rise is a short-term option that will provide immediate respite to our farmers.
“We are at a crisis point in NSW, with 51 dairy farmers exiting the industry over the last year, and a drop in overall productivity by seven per cent.”