Ulster Farmers Union has renewed its calls for increased transparency
Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) has accused dairy processors of putting ’their collective heads in the sand’ over farmers’ anger and frustration.
Ulster Farmers’ Union has renewed its call for greater transparency in the dairy industry about how prices paid to farmers for milk are calculated.
It comes after dairy farmers in Northern Ireland voted unanimously for a milk strike before Christmas on Monday (November 14). The UFU did not attend the meeting.
Speaking after the dairy committee’s monthly meeting, chairman William Irvine highlighted the irony of having to ask for this ’when those buying milk are farmer owned businesses that should understand the financial stress their farmer suppliers have faced’.
"I understand that things have not been easy for them either.
"But they have to be made to realise that they will only have the milk supply they need to succeed as processors if farmers see any prospects of their businesses returning to profitability.
"Transparency would be a key step in rebuilding relationships.
"We want that to happen, but we are not convinced by their behaviour that processors are interested in better relationships or the financial pain being faced by those that supply them," he said.
Mr Irvine said the UFU had been pressing this case for a considerable time.
"We see now with the worsening relationship between farmers and processors why this is so necessary – and we simply do not understand why it cannot be delivered," he said.
"Transparency and a voluntary code of practice on pricing are the key to better relations.
"Processors must be able to see that the complete distrust their suppliers now have for them is not healthy for any industry," he said.
The UFU dairy committee is also planning to meet local retailers on the back of recent retail price increases of dairy products.