Dairy farmers in Scotland are calling on people to drink more milk as demand has plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.
ITV News says Scotland's farmers' union made the plea after the coronavirus lockdown means cafes and restaurants are no longer ordering milk - which some reports say has led to some farmers pouring excess away down the drain.
'Huge drop in liquid consumption'
Dairy farmer Gary Mitchell told the outlet that he was happy to see people panic buying milk at the outset of the pandemic, but since then, demand has decreased.
He said: "I have taken many calls from farmers questioning why people are not using the same amount of milk at home as they would do in a normal situation.
"The data I’ve studied so far is that approximately 10 percent of UK milk is supplied to cafes, hotels etc, then we have wholesalers who also supply food manufacturing companies.
"One simple example is that the UK has almost 28 million households and if they make instant coffee or have a cup of tea at home they will be using at most 20-30ml of milk in their drink, but a latte or cappuccino from a high street chain will use from 120-150 ml per cup so when you do the sums that is a huge drop in liquid consumption."
This latest plea follows the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) calling on the UK government to support dairy farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, asking it to help fund a short-term financial support initiative.
RABDF Chairman Peter Alvis warned that failure to protect those farmers could result in disruption to the wider dairy and agricultural industry along with an undersupplied market later in the year.
"This scheme will ensure both short-term and longer-term food security and ease the stress on the industry," he said in a statement. "Removing the excess distressed milk from the market place will help to stabilize the current spot price without causing long-term market distortion.
"It will also allow those affected dairy farmers to continue to pay for invoices for farm inputs to the wider local/rural supply industry beyond the farmgate and will prevent extra cows being culled which will exacerbate the problems in the beef supply chain."