By FWi staff
DAIRY farmers supplying Waitrose through the stores Select Farm Milk scheme will lose their extra premium at the end of the week.
The scheme was launched in January to help support producers facing plummeting milk prices, by ensuring the price reflected the cost of production.
It has cost Waitrose around 100,000 to pay its 85 suppliers the extra bonus, which came on top of the Sovereign status price, the top rate paid by Unigate.
“We have continued the payments for as long as we felt necessary,” says a spokeswoman for Waitrose.
“In June, the seasonality payments start, so farmers will be getting a better price and will no longer need the extra support.
“We recognise that farmers need to be paid a price above the cost of production.
“We will assess the situation again when seasonality payments stop, and will do what we can under the circimstances at the time.”
Robert Mallett, from Northleaze Farm, Highworth, Wiltshire, is one of Waitroses suppliers.
“I received 3500 in additional bonuses during April and May. It is certainly a worthwhile scheme, and Waitrose have been very generous.
“The reason it works is because Waitrose is a small, well-respected company with good customer relations, but we still need stronger links between supplier and producer.
“I always knew the additional premiums were a temporary measure. Waitrose have done their best and they cant be expected to continue indefinitely.”
Bill Haywood, managing director of Unigate, Kidlington, said: “In order for farming to thrive in the future greater co-operation is needed.
“This scheme is all about working together to meet consumer needs. This has to be the right way forward.”