Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 5th 2016 Contents MAY 5 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Dr Norell London, a dairy farmer and a retired professor of sociology
at the University of Western Ontario, believes it is necessary to raise the
price of milk famers sell to Nestlé.
London has been in dairy farming for over 40 years and supports the
views of the president of the Cattle Farmers Association that the price
of milk needs to be raised.
"The inputs are costly. The feed, the chemicals, labour and posts for
fencing are all expensive. The Government owns the posts and we have
to pay them an exorbitant price for the posts. One post costs $50 for a
poor farmer," he told the Business Guardian last Friday by phone.
London, who owns 44 cows, has his farm in Wallerfield. He said labour
is also expensive.
"I pay my three workers $5,000 monthly for each. They have been with
me for over 10 years."
He thinks that the "reasonable" price farmers should be selling a kilo-
gramme of milk for is $6.50.
"Many farmers are unhappy and are only in the business because they
cannot do better. "
He said dairy farming can be profitable but the Government must
consider the economies of scale and other factors.
"To survive and make a decent living, a farmer needs to produce about
300 kg daily. That means a milking herd of about 30. Then there is the
spin off cost of feed right now," he said.
Lucy Torres, dairy farm owner in Turere, Sangre Grande, spoke to the
Business Guardian last Thursday.
She has 49 cows and sells milk daily to Nestlé and has been doing
business with the company for 42 years.
She sells 120 kg of milk to Nestlé daily and she estimates it costs her
about $2,500 monthly to run her farm.
"I only buy about 10 bags of feed from Nestlé for the week," she said.
Unlike some other farmers, she is happy with her relationship with
"Some farmers might not want to say it but we are in a very good rela-
tionship. Nestlé is a sure market and every day they take your milk. Every
day the trucks come here."
She spoke about Nestlé s artificial insemination (AI) programme.
"If you have a cow in heat, the person who works with Nestlé will come
and inseminate the cow. They used to charge $100 for those who were
not in the programme but for those in the programme, they cost would
be $50. Because of the change in the economy, Nestlé gives you that free.
To import the bull semen from foreign countries is not cheap."
She considers Nestlé to be an important partner of the dairy farming
"Nestlé is not an enemy. You can tie a cow in the field to eat grass,
but you cannot make it eat. Some of the farmers, all they want is more
money. I do not have a problem with Nestlé," she said.
Nestlé had provided information to the Business Guardian newspaper
in March and, according to that information, it began milk production
in T&T in 1962.
Nestlé also indicated they provide support to the country s dairy farmers
in the areas of farmer training and seminars.
There is a dairy development programme which aims to help dairy
farmers develop sustainable and profitable milk production in a shared-
value relationship. This programme was initiated on 22 farms with an
average farm size of 22 cows in 2009 and continues today.
There is also the forage and feed project.
"The Mulato Grass Project, initiated in 2006, helped farmers establish
new pastures with this improved grass. A parallel supplemental feed proj-
ect---undertaken in partnership with National Feed Mills---established a
16 per cent dairy ration specifically for suppliers to Nestlés factory. Together,
these two projects have increased cow productivity from 7.5kg/cow per
day in 2010 to 10.3kg/cow per day in 2012, while significantly reducing
the amount of feed used to produce 100 kg of milk from 66 kg to 44
kg. The result is direct on-farm savings which have increased farmers
productivity and profitability."
Nestle also referred to the farm management project.
"Nestle s agricultural services department works closely with farmers
to implement improved farm management tools and techniques. We help
farmers with data collection, analysis and feedback for short-and medi-
um-term planning. Farmers receive a detailed monthly report highlighting
key performance indicators over a four-month period, which shows them
the true profitability of their operations and highlights high costs and
Gwendolyn Garcia milks a cow.
Junior Coker poors milk into a churn after milking.
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