by Emmanuel Joseph
Consumers in Barbados will have to pay more for “white” or fresh milk from Thursday.
Richard Cozier, Chief Executive Officer of Banks Holdings, parent company of the Pine Hill Dairy, revealed this to Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
Cozier said the milk in the green and blue cartons would increase in price from an average $5.89 to $6.59.
He said he hoped that the current prices, which would be slightly different at various supermarkets, would not rise significantly beyond $6.59.
The PHD director noted that the commodity in the red packages would not change from its present $6.99.
Cozier explained that the existing prices were in place for the past two years, the same period during which the dairy has been losing money.
“The need to increase the price of milk is based on rising operating costs, paper, labour and electricity. Electricity was the biggest,” stated the PHD executive.
He also recalled the company’s losses of $1 million for the first six months of its financial year, in addition to other losses of $6 million and $4 million in the last “few” years.
Cozier lamented that the dairy had not been making any money from its processing and packaging or sale of milk.
“We will be trying to recoup these losses … at least to break even,” the top PHD official reported.
However, he said he was hopeful that some time soon, the Government’s planned intervention would put the dairy in a position where it could drop its prices again.
“There are indications the Government is working on something on behalf of farmers from the aspect of the farm gate. I don’t know exactly what it is, but if the farmers accept what we [PHD] are proposing we could see a drop in the prices to consumers,” assured Cozier.
He explained that if the Government’s “package” to the farmers was of such that they [farmers] could sell the dairy milk at a cheaper price, that would be passed on to the consumers.
“If the farmers could sell us their milk cheaper, our processing and packing could be done at a cheaper cost and we would be able to sell our milk at a lower cost to Barbadians,” suggested Cozier.
President of the Dairy and Beef Producers Association, Brian Allen, has already told this newspaper that the farmers were asking Government for a long-term subsidy, without which the viability of the industry could be in doubt.
Allen has also noted that the price of milk would go up if they were unable to acquire “the right level” of subsidy from Government. email@example.com