Co-op to increase milk payments
The Co-op has announced it will increase the premium it pays on milk to farmers, following protests and blockades over the prices supermarkets pay suppliers.
Hundreds of farmers have marched on milk processing plants to protest at cuts of up to 2p a litre on the price they are paid for production.
At least three plants were blockaded, in Leeds, Somerset and Leicestershire. The protesters warned many farmers could be forced out of business by falling prices.
The President of the National Farmers Union, Peter Kendall, this morning said farmers were "concerned, angry and frustrated" about the situation.
"We had a meeting of the NFU in London last week. Three thousand farmers travelled there, people who are getting up at the crack of dawn in the morning to milk cows – they want people to know how serious this is," he told BBC News.
"We’ve had a disastrous summer...They’re the weakest link in the chain, what supermarkets are saying is the farmers should take all the slack so they can put cut price deals on the shelves. And we’re saying this must stop."
Farming Minister James Paice said he "entirely understands" the problems facing suppliers, and pledged to resolve the standoff with a 'code of conduct'.
"What I’m trying to do is pull together the processors and producers to produce a clear code of conduct about the arrangements of a contract between the two," he said.
“They can’t operate a cartel, of course not, but what they can do is sign up to a voluntary code of practice – nothing illegal about this – which would not set the price, but would set the arrangements for the contract so that farmers and processors knew where they stood."