Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Coles, Woolies lift milk price to help drought-stricken farmers

Coles, Woolies lift milk price to help drought-stricken farmers

In a statement, Woolworths said it knew the 10 cent levy "won't solve the wider structural issues facing the dairy industry, given Woolworths branded milk accounts for less than five per cent of Australia's total milk production".

Coles came under fire for not also introducing a levy, before announcing it would join fellow grocery giant Woolworths in offering the drought range.

The move by the supermarkets was quickly followed by dairy processor Lion Dairy and Drinks, which said it would "temporarily increase the wholesale price of its Dairy Farmers and Pura branded white milk products to support its dairy farmers impacted by drought". The 10 per cent increase will be donated to the National Farmers' Federation's 2018 Drought Relief Fund. Coles has partnered with NFF since 2012 to support local farmers.

Supermarkets had previously been reluctant to increase the price of milk to help farmers, with concerns where the money would end up.

Coles said it and its customers had already committed nearly $12 million to drought relief.

Moreover, the Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud had backed the efforts of a 10 cent a litre drought levy and said this was a win for dairy farmers.

Customers will be able to purchase the Drought Relief range which will have been sourced directly from farmers in affected areas.

"There's no doubt many dairy farmers are doing it tough in the face of the drought and we're keen to support them through this hard time", Paul Harker, Woolworths Director of Fresh Food, said.

Mr Morrison said yesterday that dealing with immediate drought relief was his top priority, as well as ensuring communities can recover and rebuild.

'I give credit to Woolies because someone has finally put their hand up and said we're going to help someway - it's a start, it's not enough, ' Mr Bradley said after Woolworths announced a 10 cent increase on one brand of its milk.

The milk will be available in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT and Victoria from mid-October "to help provide short-term relief".

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