Milk producers in Barbados say there are still in trouble, despite an offer from the Pine Hill Dairy to buy their excess produce.
President of the Dairy and Beef Producers Association, Brian Allen, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that the PHD had offered to buy their excess milk at one dollar per kilo gram, as a result of the processor securing a new milk export market last week, for 30,000 kilos per month.
“You will recall our quota was cut by 75 per cent of the original quota. Anything over the 75 per cent of the original, is still within the original quota,” Allen said.
He explained that farmers would still have a short fall in revenue, because it was costing them $2.60 to produce a kilo of milk.
“Every kilo we produce, we are losing money, even at the quota price. We are in the process of costing the milk produced for each kilo,” the association president revealed.
He said the farmers were now looking to the Government to make up the difference between the $1 the dairy was offering and the $2.60 it was costing them to produce their milk. Allen explained that the Central Bank of Barbados had asked them why their production was declining every year.
“We are forced to reduce our production every year. We cannot produce…, it doesn’t make sense producing (more) milk every year. Even the $1 would not take care of what we produce. Farmers are now subsidising the Pine Hill Dairy market,” he added.
The head of the milk and beef farmers body said they had no choice but to take the PHD one dollar offer, adding though that “people would eventually have to stop producing at the one dollar, if things do not get better”.
Allen was of the view that their “dire” situation could be turned around if Government made up the shortfall in income for them. He said the PHD still had about one million dollars in excess milk in stock.
PHD director, Richard Cozier, explained that the new 30,000 kilo per month market was still under negotiation. Without giving details, Cozier said it was within the CARICOM region. Today, all the commodity groups under the Barbados Agricultural Society met at BAS headquarters on Beckles Road, St. Michael, where they presented reports to the umbrella body.
Allen informed this paper that efforts were underway to restructure the society to make it more functional. (EJ)