Milk prices must rise, says Archbishop of Wales

Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan
Image caption Barry Morgan says it is immoral to be willing to pay more for a bottle of Coke than for milk

The Archbishop of Wales has stepped into the row over dairy prices by saying shoppers must be prepared to pay more for their milk.

Dr Barry Morgan insisted everyone was responsible for ensuring farmers got a "fair price" for their milk - not just the dairies and major supermarkets.

Farmers and processing firms signed up to a new, but voluntary, code of conduct on Monday.

UK ministers could still legislate if the code is unsuccessful.

The Archbishop said: "It is astounding people will pay £1.98 for a two-litre bottle of Coke and think they've got a good deal while squabbling over the cost of milk which at £1 for 2.27 litres is half the price of Coke.

"In some places a bottle of water is twice the price of a pint of organic milk. It is shameful and immoral it now costs many farmers more to produce milk than they are able to sell it for.

"That is clearly promoting a culture which is unfair, unsustainable and unhealthy. We are short-changing our dairy farmers and that is a matter of justice and morality.

"We are all responsible and we all have to be prepared now to pay a fair price for a quality product because fair trade begins at home."

Four processors plan to reduce what they pay for milk by 2p per litre on 1 August.

England's farming minister Jim Paice chaired a meeting between the NFU and Dairy UK at the Royal Welsh Show on Monday.

As a result, a voluntary code between farmers and processors aimed at ending the dispute will be in place by the end of next month.

Junior business minister Baroness Wilcox told the House of Lords the main points of the code had already been agreed as she promised that "dairy farmers are not being forgotten" by the UK government.

The Welsh government has said it could legislate to help those affected by price cuts if a UK-wide agreement was not reached.

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