Strategy for dairy industry must tackle larger issues

UK - Following discussions at its Milk Board, NFU Cymru has submitted evidence to the Assembly’s Environment Planning and Countryside Committee on the proposed strategy for the Welsh Dairy Industry.
calendar icon 24 February 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
NFU Cymru recognises that many of the problems facing the Welsh Dairy industry are commercial in nature and that the solutions must be such. The Union believes that the Assembly’s action plan focuses too heavily on smaller issues, which although important, will not be the main determinants of whether the Welsh Dairy industry thrives or fails.

Mansel Raymond, Chairman of NFU Cymru’s Milk Board said, “There is little in the specifics of the strategy on the bigger issues such as retail/buyer behaviour and the competitive framework that allows for consolidation or the reduction of regulatory burden.

“Whilst NFU Cymru appreciates that these do not all fall solely within the prerogative of the Assembly, we feel that the Welsh Assembly Government should be seeking to influence the considerations at a UK level.”

In its submission, NFU Cymru has called for more information on how the Welsh Assembly Government intends to attract long-term inward investment projects to add value to the [more follows…]

Welsh Dairy sector and has drawn attention to a €100m package set up for the Irish dairy processing sector to promote capital investment in the marketing and processing of dairy products.

The submission also recommends that the Assembly looks to Bord Bia in Ireland as an example of the success of an integrated approach to production and marketing across the food spectrum. The Union believes that the interest of farmers and food producers in Wales would benefit from a similar body to re-establish the momentum, profile and identity in the Welsh food sector.

NFU Cymru has also advocated a root and branch review of levy spending in the Welsh Dairy sector. It has called for the activities of the Dairy Development Centre (DDC) to be developed and an evaluation to be undertaken to establish whether the interests of Welsh milk producers would be better served by the deployment of Welsh levy in favour of the DDC, with services of relevance and importance to milk producers in Wales being contracted from the Milk Development Council.

Mansel Raymond added, “No-one could fail to appreciate the difficulties facing the Welsh milk industry. To stand still is to fall back and I am pleased that NFU Cymru’s milk board is looking to the future.

“One of the objectives identified is the need for better producer contracts and I am pleased to say that the Union is already actively engaged through its legal department in drawing up a draft standard milk supply contract. [more follows…]

“I am positive about the future of the industry in the short term, provided we are assisted where there is scope to do so. In terms of climate change and the Assembly’s sustainability agenda, it is worth remembering that grass based milk production systems such as we have in Wales have the potential to act as carbon sinks. There is also an increasing drive to reduce food miles and a rising demand for local foods, both of which are important plus points for the Welsh dairy sector where there is huge potential to develop Welsh branded milk.”

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