Don’t miss this month’s new look Dairy Farmer. Take a look at the digital edition today.
It was left to the Daily Mail to spell out in its own inimitable way the predicament the industry faces – “Christmas pudding crisis as Britain faces shortage of the butter and cream needed for the festive season!”
Even they had got wind of the desperate supply situation – which is worse now than in the Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001 – and will be ongoing as many non-aligned, in particular, feel little incentive to respond.
Regrettably, despite the market surge, there’s been little encouragement to foster a more positive outlook. Perhaps more buyers ought to be taking a leaf out of Barber’s book with its recent encouragement of a whopping 6ppl rise going through to February.
But in the longer term it begs the question of whether the current chronic milk supply situation will initiate the desired reform of the supply chain that is so badly needed.
Two things here. The NFU sees the present predicament as the ideal opportunity for producers to form their own organisations to work with buyers to move the industry on from its present dysfunctional state.
The other is a report – the aptly named ‘Enhancing the position of farmers in the supply chain’ – from the Agricultural Markets Task Force, and in particular note farm commissioner Hogan’s reaction to it. He said: “Strengthening the voice and position of the farmer is a major priority for me,” with a promise of implementing its recommendations in relation to present day supply chain opacity.
Which is all well and good and a welcome move to inject greater fairness into things, but by the time the reforms start to work their way through we may be paddling off in our own canoe.
Which is why we urgently need our own form of political commitment here to sort out our supply chain and help us prepare for life in the highly competitive post-Brexit world!