First Milk, the UK co-operative, intends to secure an increase of milk prices for dairy farmers. The group said that it will deliver an 'ardent push' which it hopes will result in an increase of two pence per litre.
Roger Evans, chairman of First Milk, claimed that price volatility in the dairy sector in recent years had weakened the confidence of many farmers. First Milk is said to be exploring ways to produce stability in milk prices over the next 12 months.
"It is important to remind ourselves of the two main elements of our strategy - to consolidate a firm base in the market and to achieve for our members a position in the value added sector," Evans said at the co-operative's annual general meeting.
Under-pricing of milk has been an ongoing and heated issue in the UK. The Welsh NFU recently revealed, for example, that some outlets had been selling milk at 72 pence having purchased it for just 17 pence.
Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, has urged the government to take the milk pricing issue by 'its horns'. Last month during a parliamentary debate on the issue, he stated that "someone is making a profit out of milk and it is not the dairy farmers".
He addded that "they [farmers] deserve more protection in the market than they are getting against the all powerful muscle of the cartel of large supermarkets".
Evans said that a recent co-operative initiative in conjunction with British dairy farmers had cut costs by a predicted £8 million, while recent agreements with Nestlé had enabled the co-op to secure demand for its members' milk in some of Britain's best-known consumer products.
First Milk has a membership of 4,000 across the UK and is responsible for the production of approximately 2.5 billion litres of milk per year. This amounts to over 20 per cent of total UK production, says the organisation.