The IFA-led protest is being conducted against the retailers for what the IFA claims are “market share-grabbing discount of milk”.
Aldi and Dunnes Stores are being accused by the IFA of grossly undervaluing the price of milk in their stores by placing artificially low price tags on the product. According to the farming organisations, liquid milk prices have been reduced to as low as 67c/litre.
IFA president Joe Healy believes it is farmers who are eventually going to pay for this undercutting of value.
“Specialist liquid milk producers, just like all primary producers of fresh food, depend on being able to make a reasonable income from the retail chain,” Healy said.
“There is no such thing as cheap milk. Fresh milk producers incur high costs and legitimately expect to be able to cover their costs and make a reasonable income from their specialist milk production. Yet, experience tells us that farmers always come out the worst of those cynical grabs for market share by retailers,” he continued.
Chair of the IFA national liquid milk committee John Finn also vented his frustration at the retailers and urged farmers to resist the “bullying pressures”.
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“While they asserted their commitment to sustainability of supplies in our discussions, it is clear that Dunnes’ and Aldi’s actions do not match their words. They are devaluing our milk, potentially setting off a downward spiral in prices which farmers will, as usual, end up paying for,” Finn said.
“I call upon Dunnes Stores, Aldi and all retailers in Ireland to desist immediately from the race to the bottom on retail milk prices,” Finn concluded.
The protest begins at 11am in Portlaoise and is expected to continue until early afternoon.
Commenting on the protest, an Aldi spokesperson said: “Our promise to our customers is that we won’t be beaten on price.
"To ensure we continue to provide the very best value groceries in Ireland, we have followed the market and reduced the price of our 3 litre milk to €2.”
“The cost of the price cut is being borne by Aldi. Aldi pays its suppliers a fair and sustainable price for all its products including its milk.”