Farmers protest at Asda

Protest at the Asda distribution centre. Photo taken by Twitter user @jryarwood

Protest at the Asda distribution centre. Photo taken by Twitter user @jryarwood

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A WIGAN supermarket distribution centre was blockaded by farmers angry about plummeting milk prices.

Protestors from farms across the region turned up at the Asda hub on the Wheatlea Industrial Estate in Marcus Bridge on Sunday night, with many even bringing tractors and cows along to the demonstration.

The protestors hoped to highlight the plight of farmers hit by the amount of money many of the major supermarkets pay for milk, claiming it is causing a crisis in the agricultural sector.

Demonstrators have also been taking part in the Milk Trolley Challenges, blockading distribution centres and even bringing cattle into stores to make their point. David Handley, of Farmers For Action said: “There’s a letter going out to all the retailers and I would say to government and the food service industry - they all have to step up to the plate.

“I don’t think there’s any farmer out there at the moment that will accept they can just sit back on their laurels.

“Peaceful protest has worked well so far, I think that will carry on until we can actually deliver something.”

Farmers estimate that it costs between 30 and 32p to produce each litre of milk – meaning some are losing almost 10p per litre

An Asda spokesperson said: “We’re taking this matter seriously and have followed today’s developments with interest. We’ve worked in partnership with Arla for more than a decade to build an open and transparent relationship with our farmer owners and are already in constructive discussions about how we can further support them. While we are in regular contact with industry representatives, we are also in the process of setting up a formal meeting with the NFU to discuss the most responsible source of action for both our dairy farmers and customers.

“Asda’s policy is to source British products first and has a positive record in UK dairy sourcing for both milk and cheese. All our fresh milk is Red Tractor stamped and our own label butter and British cheese range uses British milk. Ahead of our meeting we will continue to explore the options available to support our dairy farmers, whilst ensuring our customers don’t end up shouldering the burden of any actions.”