Milk League Position A Scandal

UK - Figures showing the UK languishing at the bottom of the European milk price league table are a disgrace, NFU President Peter Kendall has said on the opening day of this year's Great Yorkshire Show.
calendar icon 13 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

“It’s plain wrong that British dairy farmers are paid the lowest prices in Europe. They’re receiving around 4p/litre below the EU average which is a disgrace. Something has to change”, Mr Kendall said.

“Volume production is finally turning a corner and, despite declining farmer numbers, average yields and efficiency are improving. UK producers want to expand their businesses, but market signals tell them to do the opposite.

“The dairy industry urgently needs fair terms and conditions of trade and that’s why the NFU is backing calls for a voluntary ‘code of practice’. As part of our campaign, we have been lobbying MPs and dairy processors to push for the introduction of fairer contracts. We believe these will deliver negotiating strength and price transparency to dairy farmers.

“A rising population here in the UK will mean some eight million more consumers on our doorstep within the next 15 years. That should be great news, but unless we can find a way for our dairy farmers to get a fair return on their investment, it's difficult to see how they'll be in a position to rise to the challenge.

"We know we need to produce more and I'm pleased the Government is beginning work on a food plan that will look at how we, collectively, can do that in a sustainable way. But for dairy farmers, the really critical first step is sustainable terms of supply.”

Mansel Raymond, NFU dairy board chairman, said: “The position the UK milk price now occupies in the EU league table is nothing short of scandalous. The clear fact for all to see is that equitable transmission of price and margin in the supply chain is not happening.

“Farmers are anxious to invest to expand as we head to the end of milk quotas. There is simply no excuse for procrastination or failure to pass on price rises to farmers.”

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