The Tenant Farmers Association has expressed its dismay that over a year into the current dairy crisis, there is still no end in sight and nothing like a clear plan to move the sector forward.
TFA National Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said “Dairy farmers are rightly aggrieved that we are over a year into this crisis without any real improvement. Whilst there are global factors at play, there is more that our Government could be doing to ease the current situation and create a better platform for the future of the dairy sector. The processing sector also has a huge part to play here but my concern is that it has a vested interest in the current downward pressure on producer prices.”
“We are being told by processors that farmers are producing too much milk and that is why prices are falling. In fact some farmers on A and B contracts are expecting their B prices to fall to very low single figures of pence per litre come the traditional “spring flush”. If this is the case, why are some processors continuing to pay volume bonuses to producers? It can only be because they have a vested interest in keeping prices low,” said Mr Wyrill.
“Although it is politically incorrect to say so, the TFA believes that we need to think again about supply control on a European basis. Whilst milk quotas were something of a blunt instrument, it must be possible to have a package of measures which allows us to control production at times like these when prices are low and the pressure on production is to increase further,” said Mr Wyrill.
“We need too to see more concerted promotional effort. Consumers have shown a desire to support British dairy products but need to be provided with clearly labelled products which allow them to select British dairy products when they demand them. AHDB Dairy has a major facilitating role here which it must not duck,” said Mr Wyrill.
“The Government must move from its rhetoric to providing practical help. We are not seeking handouts – just a fair market place. Of course it could be putting its money where its mouth is on public food procurement. The Government talks a good talk on procurement but trying to get meaningful statistics to describe what is going on is impossible. It can have all the promotional campaigns it likes when it is abroad but it is a sad state of affairs if it can’t get its house in order at home. The Government should also provide the Groceries Code Adjudicator with the powers needed to hold retailers to account properly. Fundamentally we need to hear if the Government has a clear vision for the place of the domestic dairy industry within the UK,” said Mr Wyrill.