A feasibility study looking into the possibilities of further milk processing in south west Wales is underway in a bid to improve market returns.
The Welsh Government has appointed Brookdale Consulting to carry out the work, with a final report due in October.
It follows on from the independently commissioned Review of the Dairy Sector in Wales released earlier in the year which provided a strategic direction for the dairy sector across the whole supply chain and offered a number of recommendations the Welsh Government and the industry could put in place to deliver resilience, economic growth and the creation of additional jobs.
Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, who today (Monday, August 17) is attending a meeting with farming unions and ministerial counterparts from around the UK, to discuss the issues and concerns about market volatility and other pressures currently facing UK farmers said she was ’looking forward to reading the report’s recommendations’.
While prices related to supply and demand and international markets, she added that the Welsh Government was working closely with the industry in Wales to help address both the short-term and long-term challenges the industry faced and had put in place ambitious growth plans.
“This is clearly a challenging period for farmers with both lamb and milk prices significantly down from this time last year,” she said.
“I welcome recent announcements from some of the major supermarkets that they will be paying more for the milk from Welsh farmers, but I would also urge them to look at more aligned contracts for dairy farmers supplying milk for cheese.
“Very few Welsh dairy farms have aligned milk contracts as we have far more farms supplying milk for cheese and this would really help in a tangible way.
“We continue to work closely with the industry in Wales to ensure our producers are rewarded for their quality produce.
“To this end we are making excellent progress towards our target of increasing Welsh food and drink sales by 30 per cent by 2020 as contained in Towards Sustainable Growth, our action plan for the Food and Drink Industry in Wales, which sets out how we intend to increase the profile and reputation of Welsh food and drink.”