'Predatory' supermarkets are holding small dairy farmers to ransom says Chris Loder, MP for West Dorset.

In the House of Commons today (September 10), during questions to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the MP highlighted an example.

Sainsbury’s PLC, one of Britain’s ‘big four’ supermarket chains, has threatened to tear up the contracts of small dairy farmers in Dorset who supply them with milk if they refuse to sell Sainsbury’s a certain percentage of their calves.

The MP said: “This is an abuse of Sainsbury’s dominant market position. 
"I have asked the government to support me in defending the rights of small dairy farmers across the country, who are effectively being held to ransom by these predatory supermarkets.

“I am pleased that the Secretary of State has agreed to meet with me to look at this matter in detail and that, through the Agriculture Bill, Government can go further on this. I look forward to farmers’ contracts with supermarkets being better protected in future.”

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Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, supports the call for fairer milk contracts, saying: “The Government must keep a close eye on what is happening in the dairy sector to ensure farmers are paid a reasonable price.

"I know, having spoken to the Farming Minister, that she shares our concerns and one of her top priorities is reforming and strengthening milk contracts for our farmers.”