HOMEGROWN food may disappear from supermarket shelves within months due to the “crisis” facing the farming industry.
Protests reached Swindon on Friday night, as ‘Milk Trolley Challenges’ hit the town’s Walmart store. The challenge sees farmers removing all cartons of milk from supermarkets before paying for it and taking it away, or dumping it.
Farming leaders met for emergency crisis talks in London today as falling milk prices push those in the industry to a deep depression.
Speaking outside the summit, Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) of England and Wales, said: “Obviously the industry is in crisis. There’s despair within our members.
“I’ve been farming for 45 years and this is the worst I’ve known, particularly the dairy sector and the lamb sector. We’ve seen a 30% fall in milk prices in the last 12 months and we’ve seen good quality new-season lamb being sold at least £15 per animal less than last year. It’s a crisis I haven’t seen in my farming career.
“I just plead with consumers at this time to look for Britishness, look for the Red Tractor, then they’re guaranteed top quality assured food.
“If the farmers exit the industry, then British food may not be on the supermarket shelves in months and years to come.”
Milk prices have been falling – with Arla announcing a price cut of 0.8p per litre, taking the standard litre price to 23.01p.
Farmers estimate that it costs between 30 and 32p to produce each litre of milk – meaning a loss of up to 10p per litre.
A survey found consumers would be willing to pay £1.28 for four pints. Supermarket prices currently range between 90p and £1.