Milk at 20c a litre - Farmers are exploited

FARMERS, in Ireland and right across Europe, have a long and successful tradition of protecting their businesses by protesting on the streets.

Indeed, so successful had they become at street politics that the public — their customers — had grown less sympathetic than farmers might wish.

However, we should all empathise with yesterday’s protest by dairy farmers outside Government Buildings.

Just as business is business, injustice is injustice and the situation where farmers get 20c a litre for milk that is sold hours later in supermarkets for €1.25 is plainly wrong. Dairy farms, no matter how efficient or charitable, cannot survive on 20c a litre and the processors and retailers know this.

All producers, farmers or otherwise, are entitled to a fair proportion of the final price of what they produce. One sixth of the retail price does not meet that requirement.

We are struggling with the consequences of allowing our bankers to become too powerful. Unless we confront ever more powerful conglomerates we may repeat that mistake. Farmers, like everyone else, are entitled to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. This exploitative situation cannot continue. If it does, any of us who produce anything will come to regret it.


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