While recent Global Dairy Trade auction prices for key commodities had shown price rises, some processors had lifted milk prices and a number of retailers had announced initiatives to ensure more money goes back to producers, NFU Cymru leaders said the dairy industry remained in a precarious position.
“With the event being held in West Wales where hundreds of First Milk producers have seen their milk price almost halved in the past year, any positive news will be welcomed,” said NFU Cymru milk board chairman, Aled Jones.
“But while we are all desperately looking for signs that this current slump is coming to an end, the vast majority of Welsh milk producers continue to receive prices well below the cost of production.
“With the majority of Welsh milk going into cheese for which stocks are high and prices depressed, we are far from being out of the woods,” he added.
“Our immediate concerns are centred on the short-term cash flow crisis facing the industry and last week I met with Defra Farming Minister, George Eustice, to press home the importance of a prompt delivery of the EU Dairy Crisis Fund.”
NFU Cymru president, Stephen James, said he had also met with the Welsh Government’s Deputy Food and Farming Minister to press the need for Basic Payment Scheme support to be delivered to the majority of farmers in December.
Looking to the longer-term future, he said there was a need to create a greater demand for Welsh dairy products.
“I want us to be actively targeting new export markets and developing current markets by working closely with the Welsh Food and Drink Industry Board to look at the potential to improve the Welsh branding of dairy products to add value to milk.
“I hope the on-going feasibility study to evaluate the potential for a market driven dairy processing facility in south west Wales will also signpost us towards the potential opportunities to improve processing capacity in Wales.
“We have met the consultancy firm responsible for the study and await their findings with interest.”