10 April 1998

MM aiming for £100m target

MILK Marque aims to raise about £100m within three years as it pushes ahead with plans to add value to raw milk.

Rather than subsidise inefficient processors, farmers must invest in their own plants, says Andrew Dare, chairman of Milk Marque Developments.

Provided the Monopoly and Mergers Commission inquiry into Milk Marques selling finds in the companys favour next autumn, a site will be sought in Cheshire, Lancs or the south-west.

The company hopes to process almost 1bn litres of milk a year, 15% of current supplies and five times current capacity. Cost would be about 1p/litre a member over two years, or £10,000 for a producer supplying 500,000 litres of milk.

Mr Dare believes it is money well spent. The UK dairy industry claims processing milk costs 4.5p/litre, while the Dutch do it for almost half that amount, he says. "Why should farmers continue to subsidise this inefficiency?" &#42