DAIRY FARMERS who supply multi-national Parmalat (better known for Paul’s milk) face the Wilmar problem — drawn-out negotiations.
The farmers in the Premium Milk Supply group led by dairy farmer, John Cochrane, still do not have a contract to supply milk from last January.
They, of course, are still supplying, as cows have to be milked twice daily — as Paramalat well knows. That multi-national, like Wilmar, believes they have the farmers, who can’t hold their produce and need cash flow, over a barrel.
But despite being drawn-out, the negotiations go on, because Parmalat need some of the milk for its own and supermarket contracts, as much as the farmers need to dispose of their milk for money.
And Parmalat also knows the ACCC and politicians are looking on closely.
These watching pressures seem to be incredibly significant with multi-national negotiations.
However, the dairy negotiations also show some weaknesses in the arbitration process, also started in some Wilmar cane supply districts, because they can become drawn-out.
Hopefully, ACCC’s new Agriculture commissioner, Mick Keogh, is looking closely at both negotiations to figure how they might be streamlined and tilted more evenly in the farmers’ favour.