Milk Processor Closure Hits Scottish Dairy Hard14 May 2009
UK - The announcement that milk processor Milk Link is to end production at its Kirkcudbright site, with the potential loss of 121 jobs, is a significant blow for the Scottish dairy industry according to NFU Scotland. The plant takes around three percent of all the milk produced in Scotland each year.
The Kirkcudbright plant was involved in producing added value long life products such as UHT and flavoured milks and the job losses will have a significant impact locally. The Union believes that this closure underlines the clear need for the Scottish Government’s forthcoming ‘Milk Summit’, planned for Wednesday 27 May, to deliver some clear outcomes and map out the future of milk production and milk processing in Scotland.
NFU Scotland Vice-president Allan Bowie said:
“The number of farmers milking cows in Scotland is falling, the amount of milk we produce in Scotland is dropping and, now, the volume of milk being processed into added value products in Scotland is to reduce. Scottish dairy farmers currently contribute £264 million pounds towards Scotland’s total agricultural output but that will be difficult to maintain unless clear signals on the future of the sector in Scotland are given.
“If this depressing scene is to be turned around then the Scottish Government must ensure that its Milk Summit has an ambitious agenda. It must get retailers, processors and producers around the table and work to deliver a whole chain approach that maps out a profitable and viable future for everyone involved the Scottish dairy sector. All have been invited and, as a Union, we believe it is imperative that each individual company participates.
“Confidence levels on farm are shot due to the severe price cuts Scottish dairy farmers have suffered since the start of the year and the closure of a Scottish plant will do nothing to bolster producer faith in the future. It is in the interests of producers, processors, retailers, consumers and the Scottish Government that a route ahead for the dairy sector is found so that it fulfils its potential part in Scotland’s ambitions as a land of food and drink.
“That potential will not be met if we see continued reductions in milk price, falling production and further plant closures.”
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