Price wars claim 120 dairy farmers

THE Queensland dairy industry remains strong despite a falling number of producers and artificially low milk prices.

Queensland Dairy Organisation president Brian Tessmann believes the industry's future lies in the Chinese and Asian markets that are prepared to pay higher prices for milk.

Mr Tessmann said during his address at the QDO conference in Toowoomba yesterday, that while the industry had been through tough times, opportunities existed and needed to be capitalised on.

"We have lost 120 Queensland farmers over the past three and a half years since the start of the supermarket price wars."

He said there were virtually no international export issues, with milk able to be picked up from a dairy farm on Monday morning, and be available for sale on Chinese supermarket shelves by Wednesday afternoon.

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Mr Tessmann said fresh milk prices in China sat between $7 and $8 a litre, more than seven times the domestic prices paid for the same product.

"So we are greatly undervaluing our industry and simply destroying it because we don't pay a fair price for it," he said.

He said a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets and a review of the Competition and Consumer Act would help bolster the industry.

"We need the government's assistance with that, and we also need real results from the current Competition and Consumer Act.

"We also need to expand our market and get our product into China."



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