UK Misses Opportunity On EU Dairy Contracts

UK - The National Farmers Union (NFU) has stated that a golden opportunity has been missed to strengthen dairy contracts across the European Union.
calendar icon 7 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

The European Commission, European Parliament and European Council have agreed a final text on the EU’s dairy package which aims to create a more sustainable future for the EU’s dairy sector.

But NFU chief dairy advisor Rob Newbery said the text did little more than maintain the status quo.

“The European Commission’s dairy package proposals were meant to safeguard the long-term future of the dairy sector but, with the exception of new powers for producer organisations, today’s agreement does little more than maintain the status quo for UK farmers,” said Mr Newbery.

“We have been in intense discussions with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council throughout the dairy package negotiations but disappointingly it seems farmers will not be protected by common contract rules across the European single market.

“We see this as a real missed opportunity by the European institutions to help increase the bargaining power of farmers. However, the package doesn’t close the door on individual Member States choosing to legislate for minimum contract terms and Defra Minister Jim Paice has committed to consult on this matter when the time comes.

“We are also buoyed by the exciting potential for farmers to market their milk collectively through producer organisations which we intend to explore further. Meanwhile, we must re-double our efforts as a dairy industry by working with the dairy processors and Defra to draw up a voluntary code of practice that will give farmers better bargaining power and greater revenue from milk sales. Should this process fail to offer farmers the fairness and transparency in contracts they deserve, we will be pressing Defra to legislate.”

The agreement must still be formally accepted by a vote in the Agriculture Council and European Parliament, with a likely adoption in the New Year.

Further Reading

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