Urgent Action Needed In Dairy Market

UK - National Farmers' Union (NFU) President Peter Kendall has called on Farming Minister Jim Paice to investigate the emerging dairy crisis after a meeting last week.
calendar icon 29 November 2010
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

Speaking to the Minister at the NFU’s Devon Annual Open Meeting, Mr Kendall said an urgent discussion with the nation’s dairy processors and the Defra minister was needed to explain the current situation in the dairy sector. Mr Paice accepted the challenge saying that he would use his next dairy supply chain forum in December to’bang heads together’.

"It is clear to me,and the countless dairy farmers across the country who are trying to make a living,that this market just simply isn’t working,"said Mr Kendall.

"Milk processors are carving each other up- at the expense of all dairy farmers - by making increasinglyreckless undercutsin the market.

"At the same time, supermarkets and other liquid milk customers are being extremely short-sighted by paying a milk price so low that some farmers aren’t even meeting their own costs of production. If these customers took the time to look over the fence at what’s happened to cheese prices, they’d realise that cheese production will soon be a more attractive and profitable market for milk. Thiswill leave the liquid market starved of supply. There has to be something profoundly wrong in the market place for these things to be happening.

"I am committed to investigating a market which clearly isn’t working and theMinister shares our concerns. I believe money has been made but not shared back down through the supply chain to the farm gate. This cannot continue or we face seeing less investment, lower milk production, fewer farms and more and more imported dairy products on our supermarket shelves.

“I would urge him to remember Defra’s newly published business plan; it is quite clear about what the Government wants for farming. The Ministers’ number one priority is to support and develop British farming and help enhance the competitiveness of the whole food chain. That includes dairy farms.

“For our part the NFU will continue its work to unravel, scrutinise and expose what is going on in our dairy sector and engage directly with retailers and processors to push for better farm gate prices, better contracts and better behaviour that won’t leave dairy farmers vulnerable to downward price pressures or exposed to all of the market risk.”

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