UK farming unions have welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement of unfair practices in the supply chain but have urged them not to ’rush through’ legislation
Regulation of milk contracts must not be rushed through with the ‘blunt wording’ of current EU regulation, but Government must work with the industry to create better results for UK dairy farmers.
That was the message from the UK farming unions as they met to discuss the challenges facing dairy farmers.
In a joint statement from NFU, NFU Scotland, UFU and NFU Cymru, the unions welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement of unfair trading practices in the dairy supply chain.
NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said the unions had argued for fairer contracts for years and it was a huge opportunity for the sector.
However, he warned the blunt wording of the current EU regulation on milk contracts was unsuitable for the UK industry.
Mr Oakes said: “This is one of the reasons the UK opted for the voluntary code of conduct for contracts when the EU regulation first came into force.
“Rather than rush through a text developed for the whole EU dairy sector, we would rather work with Government on improving this text to achieve better results for UK dairy farmers and dairy processors.”
He added it needed to go hand in hand with better farmer representation and market data to help ensure more fairness in the supply chain.
“Regulating on one of these areas is not sufficient,” he said. “This will be the thrust of our response to Government in their upcoming consultation on compulsory milk contracts.”