Deputy Minister Outlines Support For Dairy Industry

16 Oct

I have just received this press releasefrom the Deputy Minister’s office. I can only hope it might bring a little confidence for those of you involved in the Welsh dairy industry. I’ve spoken and heard from some of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and know the strain and pressure this particular issue has caused them and their families. Farming has never been an easy way to earn a living and although many farmers love what they do, they certainly don’t need to be taken advantage of over milk prices. Milk is a basic product but that does not mean to say that supermarkets can use it as a loss leader for them, whilst they pay the farmers next-to-nothing for their milk.

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies, has re-iterated his support for the dairy industry and ensuring farmers receive a fair price for their milk.

But speaking at this year’s Welsh Dairy Show at the United Counties Showground in Carmarthen Mr Davies also said more needed to be done to secure the long-term future for the industry. “I recognise that the sector needs both to resolve the immediate issues around the price paid for milk, but at the same time also to put in place structures and mechanisms that will help underpin its long-term viability,” he said. I have argued for some time that a voluntary agreement is in the best interests of the industry as a whole and have vigorously supported the process that has led to this successful outcome. The industry code is a more flexible and preferable option than legislating to introduce the EU Dairy Package, however, officials are working in this area in preparation to press ahead if we should need to.”

The Deputy Minister added that more needs to be done to ensure the long-term viability of the industry and the Welsh Government was committed to continue to work with dairy farmers to achieve that. “The Welsh Government is taking a long term approach to ensure the Welsh dairy industry emerges from its current difficulties in a strong position for the future,” he explained. Later this year I will establish a Dairy Forum in Wales later to inform and support the Welsh Government in the future development of the dairy sector in Wales. A consultation on dairy contract procedures will begin soon in Wales, it is the intention that this will run in parallel with similar consultations in other parts of the UK. It will be accompanied by a UK-wide Impact Assessment. And I continue to press for the early introduction of a Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure fairness in the operation of the Grocery Supply Chain Code of Practice.”

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