Fresh calls for action to improve returns for milk producers

The NFU has warned that the consequences of failing to ensure farmers receive a fair share of the rewards from milk production would be severe.

The NFU has said that any action from the government or retailers in regards to the dairy market must be urgent, well considered and collaborative and has called on the dairy supply chain to shift from practices which create short-term winners and losers.

It has also said that well-informed, responsible banks and creditors need to work with the industry to deliver long-term sustainability.

The Union feel that working collaboratively with government at all levels to implement a sensible package of market tools, legislation, and trade levers would be the right way forward.

The NFU dairy board Chairman, Rob Harrison, called for more milk buyers to show responsibility in trying to match supply and demand, and this needed to be done alongside farmer suppliers.

“We desperately need help from the government and the EU who must both do more to ensure a sustainable future for the dairy sector and help make tools available for farmers to manage volatility,” said Mr Harrison.

In response to their fears about the dairy market, the NFU is calling for:

  • Improvements to the labelling of dairy products to ensure consumers are buying British
  • European fertiliser import tariffs to be removed to improve competition in the European fertiliser sector
  • European institutions to move to alleviate the problems faced by farmers because of the Russian import ban
  • The European Investment Bank to speed up its work to refinance farm borrowings
  • A review of dairy intervention price thresholds
  • Make sure the Rural Payments Agency speeds up Basic Payment Scheme payments and ensure that this is not a problem in future years.
  • Government agencies doing more to support the public procurement of British food

The call for change from the NFU comes after new official figures show that daily milk deliveries were coming back in line with trends from February 2015, with UK daily milk deliveries for the two weeks ending February 20th averaging 39.2 million litres a day, around 0.3 per cent lower than the same period last year.

Despite this stabilisation of the market deliveries remain 3.7 per cent above the three-year average and the price per litre for milk remains low.