Supermarkets ‘let off the hook’ over dairy crisis – Paice
THE supermarkets have been let off the hook for causing the milk price crisis, First Milk chairman Sir Jim Paice has said.
“It is tempting to blame the supermarkets for the current downturn in the milk price we are experiencing but I have to say that the crisis we are seeing today in the milk industry is not really the supermarkets’ fault,” he told Pembrokeshire NFU’s county conference.
“I believe the fundamental problem with the dairy industry at the moment is that there is too much milk on the market.
“We have seen an approximate increase of 10 per cent produced in the UK alone this year and that has been exacerbated by two things — China dramatically reducing its purchase of milk powder and then Russia introducing its trade ban, which included dairy products.
“With a third of EU cheese exports going to Russia that was the final straw and that is why our milk prices are where they are,” said Sir Jim.
“It has resulted in a very serious situation throughout the country at the moment, particularly in south west Wales where dairy farming is a hugely important industry.”
But he assured farmers that supplied First Milk that the co-operative was “here to stay” and everybody was getting paid for the milk they had produced.
He insisted, too, that First Milk was in a very strong position, the strongest it had been for many years and should be strong enough to withstand the volatile next few months ahead.
John Davies, NFU Cymru’s deputy president, and Euryn Jones, HSBC’s agriculture manager for Wales and the South West, both agreed the industry was witnessing extremely volatile times not only in dairying but in other sectors as well.
“What we all want is a fair price from the market place for what we produce,” said Mr Davies.
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