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Agriculture Ministry looks at milk pricing dispute

May 15, 2014 5:59 am

Senior officers of the Agriculture Ministry met today to discuss a dispute over milk pricing between Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Limited and the Fiji Dairy Company.

Director Animal Health, Tomasi Tunabuna confirmed the meeting but declined to comment on the discussions.

FDCL Chief Executive, Sachida Nand, says a Milk Supply Agreement is yet to be finalised and FDL sets the price without input from the farmers.

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“We have requested the processing company that we would like to have the price as $1.05 a litre, plus VAT. That is quite a smaller amount, because so far since last year we have had a price decrease from $1.00 a litre to 87 cents a litre.”

The dispute dates back to 2011 when the dairy industry was effectively separated into two – FDCL as the producer and FDL as the processor.

At the time farmers were told the price for their milk would be determined by a Milk Supply Agreement.

Southern Cross Foods owns 80 per cent shares in FDL and the other 20 per cent class B shares are held by FCDL.

Southern Cross Foods CEO, Vishwa Sharma declined to comment referring us to the agriculture ministry instead.

In a statement yesterday Director Animal Health, Tomasi Tunabuna said no date has been confirmed to bring the two sides together.

However, he added the government will do all it can, as soon as possible to address the issue of milk pricing.

The Fiji Dairy Cooperative Limited believes a Milk Supply Agreement will lead to a healthy and productive industry.

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