Australian dairy co-op Norco has asked its supporters not to boycott Coles following the announcement that the supermarket giant would not back a 10-cent drought levy to help support struggling farmers.
The Queensland Dairy farmers Organisation (QDO) campaigning for the 10-cent drought levy, called on consumers to boycott the store in favour of retailers supporting the proposal.
But Norco has reacted by calling on its supporters to keep buying milk from the supermarket, saying calls for a boycott are “misguided” and would only hurt farmers by reducing sales of Norco products.
Norco chairman and interim CEO Greg McNamara said in a statement today that the company has a “great relationship” with Coles, supplying both Norco and Coles brand dairy products for several years.
“The supply agreement between Coles and Norco is an important and valued component to Norco’s business and to members as a whole. Coles pays the farmgate price which is set by Norco, plus a processing margin and other manufacturing costs,” McNamara said.
Coles has supported Norco’s decision to pay farmers an additional 5-cent per litre for their milk to assist them in coping with the impact of drought.
“The intentions of a proposed ten cent per litre levy to be applied to the retail shelf price of milk are honourable, however it is the view of the Norco Board that our Members cannot wait and immediate action is required to assist our farmers through this debilitating drought and feed crisis.