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Call for Fair Dairy Contracts

01 October 2014
National Farmers Union

UK - A call has been sent out to retailers, food companies and milk buyers look for ways to support British dairy farmers and maintain long term commitments with their producers in the UK.

According to the National Farmers’ Union many dairy farmers are feeling financial pain following a downturn in global dairy commodity prices with significant farm gate price cuts in the past few months.

Speaking ahead of the South West Dairy Event, NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison (pictured) said: “Dairy farmers will be anxiously watching global markets for signs of an upturn and when it happens it is important that farm gate milk prices respond quickly and positively.

“It is more important now than ever before that food businesses and retailers pull their weight when it comes to delivering a sustainable price for dairy farmers and back British farming. Some, but by no means all, retailers have determinable milk pricing mechanisms. We’d like to see more retailers take the lead of the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose, whose pricing mechanisms give farmers some certainty over price. There are a number of opportunities for business in the supply chain to do more in liquid, cheese and other contracts.

“While more can be done proactively, it’s also important to remind retailers now is not the time to take advantage by applying pressure for price cuts as any volatility in the market could put a huge strain on the whole supply chain which would make the situation even worse.”

But Mr Harrison said the long term outlook for dairy farmers was still very positive.

“The UK dairy industry is operating competitively in a growing global market – the future remains bright, but we need to work together to ensure the foundation of the industry, our farmers, have a future.”

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