AS I SEE IT: Supermarket giants out to bully dairy farmers

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Shame is less of a driver than profits to Asda, who in July prompted a savage retail milk price war by slashing the price of a standard four-pint bottle of milk to £1.25.

It has remained at that low price ever since, and losses invariably land at the feet of the milk producer.

Other milk buyers cannot compete on price with large companies like Asda and Tesco, who hold the key to UK Dairy farming sustainability.

Despite claims of support for dairy farmers, they distort the market by holding down prices under cover of highly publicised dedicated contracts held by a very small percentage of farmers, leaving the majority – however efficient – to face ongoing prices at below the cost of production.

Farmers who protested outside Asda and Tesco distribution depots throughout the country on bitterly cold nights were supporting Farmers for Action, a campaigning organisation led by dairy farmer David Handley.

FFA has only stepped in when all other negotiation has failed to shame these retailers, protests have been peaceful and protesters have complied fully with requests from police.

The result of daring to challenge Goliath has led to the issue of an injunction against David and FFA by the Leeds-based company, who are the second biggest retailer in the UK and owned by Walmart, the largest company in the world.

Asda wields its massive financial power to intimidate dairy farmers into silence, and prevent any future challenges by farmers unless made on Asda terms.

Ironically Asda was formed by a group of Yorkshire Farmers in 1965.

Given the size and financial means of today’s Asda compared to that of FFA, this action indicates Asda’s intention to do as they please regardless of how it affects others as they continue to abuse their power taking an unfair percentage of the price paid by consumers for milk and holding on to any gains from the market.

Maximising profits and short-term gains at the expense of dairy farmers are far more of a concern to retailers than the long-term future of British Dairy Farming or the long-term interests of consumers who, in the end, will be the loser, as retailers will seek their profits elsewhere.