Tessa is supporting the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in its campaign to highlight the recent drastic reduction in milk prices for dairy farmers this year, calling for a reversal in the cuts in Parliament. Tessa attended the recent demonstration at the Wiseman Dairies site in Bridgwater.
Up to a 2p per litre cut in the price paid to farmers has been announced by the four leading dairy processors, affecting 27% of milk producers from 1st August. Earlier in the year another 2p per litre was sliced of the price. Farmers rightly feel that they have no control over the price they receive, and many more will abandon milk production and worse still, leave farming completely. Half of Britain’s dairy farmers went out of business between 2000 and 2010.
Tessa has discussed milk contracts with James Paice MP, Minister for Agriculture and Food, who pointed to the welcome news that the new Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) a long held Lib Dem priority, will be introduced by mid 2013. The GCA will act as an Ombudsman for grocery suppliers, ensuring supermarkets treat their contractors fairly, enforcing the Groceries Code, investigating alleged breaches of the Code and have wide-ranging powers to obtain information during the course of an investigation. The GCA will act in the interests of both farmers and consumers.
The Coalition Government is also supporting farmers to establish Producer Organisations, giving them greater powers to negotiate contracts, improve their efficiency, competitiveness, profitability and, therefore, long-term sustainability.
Tessa said, “Somerset farmers must get a better deal than they have had for the last 20 years. How can we expect farmers to sell milk at a loss, year after year? They need a stronger voice and we need to accept that paying a few more pence for a pint of milk is a small price to pay to keep dairy farming alive. If we ignore the farmers’ plight, the UK industry could disappear. Importing such a perishable product as milk will be much more expensive in the long run.”
17th July 2012