NFUS has asked processors and retailers to meet with it to discuss the ’urgent need’ for higher farmgate prices
NFU Scotland (NFUS) has called on retailers and processors to meet with it to address why farmers are not yet seeing improved markets following the upturn.
The Union said it has had positive responses to requests for meetings from Muller UK and farmer co-operative Arla and meetings are currently being arranged with Asda and Morrisons. It intends to set up further meetings with all other processors and retailers.
NFUS said the ’hugely variable’ response to the market changes had caused frustration for dairy farmers and processors needed to utilise the upturn to restore confidence in the sector ’rather than returning to previous practices of delaying price rises and basing pricing decisions on what a competitor is doing’.
Graeme Kilpatrick, NFU milk committee chairman, said previously farmgate prices have been ’quick to fall but slow to recover’.
"Sadly, some processors are already repeating the mistakes of years gone by," he said.
"The bottom line is that many producers have never faced more challenging financial times.
"The vast majority of Scottish dairy farmers are still a long way short of the point where they will see a return to profit, rebuild balance sheets and contemplate investments which have been put off for almost two years."
The spot price for milk has risen to over 30ppl but NFUS said the average price received by Scottish farmers is closer to 20ppl with many receiving even less.
Mr Kilpatrick said it was in the interests of consumers, retailers, processors and farmers to use the upturn to drive change.
"In the short term, producers need to see a commitment to immediate price moves that reflect the market.
"Longer term, the entire supply chain must act collaboratively to ensure a sustainable and more stable future for the UK dairy sector."