Quaker MEP: 2015 call for action to ensure a fair deal for UK dairy farmers still not heeded

In February 2015, Quaker MEP Jude-Kirton Darling and other Labour MEPs called for the EU, UK government and consumers to act to ensure North East farmers get a fair deal.

jude 2 kirton-darling q mepThe price of milk in UK supermarkets had fallen to levels which are unsustainable for UK dairy farmers, with prices dropping from £1.39 to just 89p. See DEFRA’s  Forecasts of Farm Business Income by type of farm in England – 2014/15. They still fluctuate alarmingly making it difficult for all but the largest dairy farmers to survive. The NFU continues to point out that this is leading farmers to leave the industry. Milk in supermarkets in the UK is sometimes cheaper than water and the price is often below the cost of production. In response MEPs have called for an EU-wide review of milk prices. They said:

“It is simply not fair for a dairy farmer to be paid less for a litre of milk than it costs to produce. We must collectively and speedily inject fairness into the relationship between dairy farmers, processors, supermarkets and, importantly, customers . . .

“We also want the UK government to write to the banks encouraging them to be as supportive as possible of dairy farmers during this difficult period, including making loans available.

“And in the longer term we want to see farmers working together more, in order to increase their clout in the market and move themselves up the supply chain, by investing in food processing and the production and marketing of processed products such as cheese and yoghurt, as this is where the money can be made . . .

“We are calling on the British consumer to ask probing questions of their supermarket manager, as they have done in the past about fairly traded products from the developing world, to find out if a fair price has been paid to the farmer for the milk we buy.” 

Finally they want to see more powers given to the Groceries Code Adjudicator, whose role it is to ensure there is fair play between British food processors and retailers, so she can take action across the supply chain.

Wise words from the FT in August: https://foodvitalpublicservice.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/ft-no-government-should-take-risks-on-food-security/




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