EUROPE - Arla has said it will soon start to pay a premium for milk that has been produced without the use of GM feeds, on the back of recent developments in Germany, where retailers are increasingly demanding this from producers.
Arla said the trend is likely to spread to other markets and Arla wants to capture this opportunity immediately to add value to its farmers’ milk.
According Chairman Åke Hantoft, Arla is well-prepared to meet the growing demand from the trans-European retailers for GM free feed.
“We own the biggest organic milk pool in the world, for which the feed is by default GM free. Our Swedish farmers have always used GM free feed. This means that around 20 per cent of Arla’s milk pool already meets this market demand.
"There is commercial potential in this that we can capture and build on immediately by attracting more farmers who are willing to convert to GM free feed,” said Åke Hantoft.
He underlines that the decision is based on the commercial opportunity and does not indicate that Arla’s owners are taking a new stand on GM.
“We welcome innovative solutions and new technology, which can improve farming and help feed the world’s growing population in a sustainable manner. We are not closing a door on GM and we will continue to monitor the scientific research into the pros and cons of GM going for-ward.”
Arla will compensate the farmers as they convert, in a similar way to organic farmers.
“Our immediate demand is up to 1 bn kg extra milk during the next 12 months and we expect to be able to pay an extra 1 eurocent per kg milk.
"The market driven compensation will also be paid to all our Swedish farmers, who already use GM free feed. We do not know exactly from when, but we are working fast to unfold the details,” says CEO Peder Tuborgh.
TheCattleSite News Desk