by David George
A new strategy to address the crisis facing British dairy farmers has been agreed at an important meeting of the Dairy Coalition today.
The new strategy will help to secure the long-term future of the British dairy industry.
The ten point plan to build a fair and functioning marketplace has been agreed by all members of the coalition, the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, FFA, TFA, WFU and the RABDF, and will focus on three key areas including:
• Exposing bad practices
• Redefining and empowering the farmers’ role in the supply chain
• Ensuring the supply chain is transparent and fair.
Cheese also moves into the spotlight with the SOS Dairy campaign including milk and cheese in its focus.
In particular, the Coalition has committed to campaigning to promote UK cheese and calling for own-label supermarket cheese to be British.
Speaking after the meeting, NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said: “The first priority of the Dairy Coalition of organisations is to see a fair and functioning market place for the UK dairy industry.
“We firmly believe that all farmers should receive a fair and sustainable milk price; one which at least covers their costs to produce milk.
“This is the only way we will be able to ensure shoppers have the choice of British dairy products on supermarket shelves.
“What is very clear is that the dairy market has failed. Market highs have not been passed down to the farm gate.
“We need to see all milk buyers developing their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs.
“I firmly believe that the British dairy industry can have a very bright future. We need to have every part of the dairy market working to capture present and future market opportunities both here and abroad.
“We have a growing demand for fresh, British, quality dairy products from a growing world population and we must be in a place where we can respond.”
The Ten Point Plan:
Expose those whose damaging behaviour undermines the liquid milk market.
Work with milk buyer farmer representatives to ensure that representation is professional, independent and democratic, so that farmers’ interests are protected.
Set out a roadmap to capture the maximum opportunity for Producer Organisations to rebalance the negotiating power within the milk supply chain and assist farmers wanting to set up POs or other collaborative organisations within the dairy sector.
Work to finalise the code of good practice for dairy contracts.
Develop a process to monitor and report on the implementation of the Code of Good Practice for Dairy Contracts, to ensure its earliest and complete adoption.
Encourage all milk buyers to develop their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs. Clearly, the coalition doesn’t seek to say what that model should be, but we want to see all milk buyers working to create their own models that deliver a fair and sustainable price for farmers.
Expose bad practice or non-compliance with the Code of Good Practice and irresponsible behaviour in the milk market by developing a whistle-blower mechanism for farmers.
Campaign to promote British cheese and other dairy products to consumers and to retailers, both in the domestic market and abroad.
Work with DairyCo so farmers can utilise relevant market information published by DairyCo such as up-to-date global trends, league tables and dairy market predictions.
Prepare an ambitious strategy for the UK dairy industry’s future without EU milk quotas, which takes full advantage of growing domestic and global demand for dairy products.
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