Struggle for Warrambool Cheese Needs Farmer Debate14 November 2013
AUSTRALIA – A producer group has called on members to air views on the possible Saputo takeover of Warrambool Cheese and Butter (WCB).
United Dairy Farmers of Victoria (UDV) senses foreign ownership of WCB will threaten Australian ambitions of becoming a global player in dairy exports.
This week, UDV said they want farmers to directly benefit from the growth and performance of a profitable export sector.
The state organisation looks to unite farmers at a meeting in Warrambool next week to share opinions on manufacturing amid the on-going ownership struggle for WCB ownership.
WCB is one of the few remaining Australian-controlled dairies and, according to UDV President, Kerry Callow, needs farmer input to decide the company's fate.
“We want to hear what path dairy farmers want the industry to take,” said Ms Callow.
“We’re at the cross-roads. One road will see yet another of our key dairy processors fall under foreign control – if Canadian dairy giant Saputo takes ownership of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. The other road could see Australia move towards becoming a global player in the international dairy export market,” Ms Callow said.
“It seems that in most dairy farmers’ minds there are two important principles at stake; the need for competition at the farm gate and the need to position the Australian industry as a major player on the global market.
“It is perhaps not unexpected that there are differing views across the industry on the direction we should take. But the UDV wants to ensure everyone gets their chance to understand and have a say on what path we take.”