Johannesburg - The
Overberg Dairy Action Group said on Monday that 21 milk producers have left the
industry in the past six months.
"Not only were these producers affected financially,
but a large number of farm workers have also lost their jobs," it said.
The group said it has been told a further 12 producers
would be forced to leave the industry in the next three months, should producer
prices not be sufficiently increased.
"Producer prices in SA are currently at least 7% lower
than a year ago. Internationally, producer prices have already been adjusted to
align with global dairy prices.
"However, the South African milk producer currently
experiences stagnant producer prices, while input prices have increased sharply
since 2010. Import parity is currently in the region of R4/litre, while the
average producer price locally is about R2.80/litre."
The group added that producers had voiced their
dissatisfaction over price mechanisms which, they claimed, negatively
affect milk producers in the Overberg region in the Western Cape, while
other regions benefit from it.
"This 'take it, or leave it' approach will lead to some
of the best quality milk in the country being lost to the consumer.
"The discontinuance of milk production in the Overberg
region will put further pressure on the environment, in that milk buyers will
have to transport their raw material over long distances to processing
The group said new structured business units at producer
level were planned to address imbalances in the value chain.