Archbishop of Wales enters row over milk prices

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A church leader has entered the row over milk prices by saying that shoppers should be prepared to pay more to support struggling dairy farmers.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, insisted everyone was responsible for ensuring farmers got a “fair price” for their milk, not just the dairies and major supermarkets.

He said: “It is astounding people will pay £1.98 for a two-litre bottle of Coke and think they've got a good deal while squabbling over the cost of milk which at £1 for 2.27 litres is half the price of Coke.

“It is shameful and immoral it now costs many farmers more to produce milk than they are able to sell it for.”

Farmers’s leaders are demanding dairy processors reverse cuts of 4p per litre, or 14 per cent, in the ‘farmgate’ price before 1 August – or face protests aimed at bringing national milk supplies to a standstill.

In a sign that protesting farmers are gaining the upper hand in the dispute, Asda this week said it would increase the premium its pays to its 272 dedicated dairy farmers by 2p per litre to 29.5ppl – which the NFU says is the cost of production.

Karl Martin, Asda’s commercial director for dairy, said: “We have listened to the concerns of our dedicated dairy farmers and recognise the financial pressures they are currently facing.”

The NFU said all supermarkets were moving “in the right direction.”

“They are all now committed to paying a price that covers their farmers cost of production. This is good news but the work is far from over,” said NFU Cymru Deputy President Stephen James.

“We will focus the spotlight on any company that is exploiting farmers and paying crazy low prices for their milk.”