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Support for NFU Cymru Proposal to Help Welsh Dairy

02 December 2009
National Farmers Union

UK - National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru is pleased that many of its recommendations have been included in the National Assembly for Wales’ Rural Development Sub-committee Inquiry into the Dairy Industry report published earlier this week at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

NFU Cymru submitted both written and oral evidence to the Committee this autumn which focused on the concerns about the decline in the industry, future prospects and where the Welsh Assembly Government intervention would be most effective.

NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman, Mansel Raymond, is particularly pleased that the committee highlighted that the Welsh Assembly Government should take action to reverse the decline seen in dairy products used in public procurement in recent years. The report states that increased public procurement has the potential to make a big impact on the demand for Welsh dairy produce at minimal cost.

Mr Raymond said, “NFU Cymru has highlighted on a number of occasions in recent months our concern at the proportion of milk and milk products used by the public sector, and I sincerely hope that this report can be seen as the catalyst to help reverse that trend.”

NFU Cymru is also satisfied that the Committee recommends continued pressure to be put on the UK Government to establish an ombudsman to monitor the relationships between producers, processors and retailers and to ensure fairness and transparency within the food supply chain. Whilst the inquiry report makes reference to NFU Cymru’s calls for dedicated supply chains to be established to create a link between the producer and retailer for cheese lines, Mr Raymond is disappointed that this point has not been included within the list of recommendations.

He said, “ Increasingly the consumer is asking for more information about where their product has come from and how it has been produced, this has translated into a number of dedicated supply chains being set up to supply liquid milk to the major retailers, these relationships have tended to offer some clarity and certainty on price.

“The vast proportion of Welsh milk finds its way into cheese production and I firmly believe that there is a need for similar supply arrangements to be established for Welsh cheese. This would ensure a secure sustainable supply of cheese to the retailer and consumer and give the producer the confidence to invest in going forward. I am disappointed that the committee has not specifically asked the Welsh Assembly Government to actively look at how these relationships could be encouraged to develop within Wales.”

Mr Raymond concluded, “We hope that the Minister will take forward a number of recommendations made within this inquiry and we look forward to being actively engaged in helping to progress on the recommendations made - which we believe could have a positive impact on the dairy industry in Wales.”

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