THE NFU has fully endorsed the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report on dairy prices.
Ten recommendations within the report include many actions identified by the NFU and submitted to EFRA in its written evidence.
NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison, who gave evidence to the Committee, said: “We are all aware of the short term issues currently facing the UK dairy sector and the implications for dairy farmers. While none of these recommendations are new, I do believe that Defra now needs to deliver on these actions to help ensure a fairer, more sustainable dairy industry going forward.
“There are obviously short and long term recommendations and I’m glad to see that the EFRA Committee took into account our views in their report. Top of the agenda is a push for a review of the EU intervention price for dairy products – I’m glad that Committee members agreed with me that 17ppl is not a safety net of any sort and this could help the current dairy situation immediately.
“Longer term I agree that we need to develop an improved dairy export strategy which will help access new markets in future. This is of utmost importance when we look at where future demand for dairy will be from. In turn dairy products sold domestically and into export markets need to be correctly labelled with their country of origin. The NFU fully supports mandatory country of origin labelling on dairy products.
“I’m also pleased that the Committee has recognised the role of the dairy industry Code of Best Practice – something the NFU alongside NFUS and DairyUK worked hard to put in place. We will work with our industry partners to ensure this remains suitable going forward. Alongside this is a need to increase the bargaining power and influence of farmers, many of which remain as price takers in the UK dairy sector. The NFU, like EFRA, would encourage more farmers to collaborate, for example through producer groups.
“Finally, I’m extremely encouraged by the focus in EFRA’s report on the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator. The NFU has always believed that the GCA’s remit should be extended to cover primary producers and I’m glad to see that EFRA believes that the code needs extending to include small scale producers.”