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Ferris: Pressure On Milk Prices Reflects Continuing Decline of Co-ops

17 August, 2006

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has said that the recent cut in the price paid to farmers by the country's leading processor Glanbia, and the consequent pressure that this is placing on other processors to follow suit, reflects the continuing decline of co-operatives and the tightening grip of large plcs which dominate the market to the detriment of farmers.

The Kerry North Deputy said: "The cut in milk prices imposed by Glanbia, cynically cushioned by price support from farmers own funds in the Glanbia co-op, is merely the latest episode in the campaign by dairy and other processors to reduce the share of the price paid by consumers that goes to farmers. No doubt we will see similar moves by the meat processors at some point as well.

"In the past I have stated that the declining power of farmers with regard to pricing demonstrates the necessity for a return to the original structure and role of the co-operatives. Unfortunately their place has been more and more taken by private companies whose bottom line necessitates that they erode the position of the producer.

"Irish farmers need only look to the situation in other countries where this has happened to realise the grave consequences that follow when a small number of private companies come to dominate the market. To avoid that happening here it is essential that the farm organisations conduct a thorough-going review of the situation and examine means by which producer's co-ops can be strengthened in the interests of both farmers and consumers."


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