What do you think of The Chancellor of the Exchequer's, Rishi Sunak's ten-point plan to help dairy farmers?

Read the ten-point plan and our response to it.

UK DAIRY farmers are really struggling with low milk prices - in some cases, they are receiving less than it costs to produce the milk. Clearly, that's not sustainable. Sitting on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has given me the ideal opportunity to investigate this issue - and come up with a plan. My ten-point plan is

a series of practical measures which would help industry and government can work together to secure UK dairying’s future...

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

1. 

More retailers giving farmers a fair deal.

Ensure every major retailer follows the lead of some supermarkets in paying a fair price for British dairy produce.”
Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

Milk pricing is very complex, after all, what is a fair deal? (Example AHDB has a rolling cost of production model never used by UK processors ) We believe by centrally coordinating CUfarms.uk contracts. We can represent and deliver fair contracts to UK farmers working with a new independent Dairy Code Adjudicator. Fairness throughout the industry can be achieved. Through Farmer, Processor, Wholesaler, Retailer and most importantly to the consumer.

2.

An end to milk being used as a ‘loss leader’.

Many supermarkets now charge only £1 for four pints. While supermarkets often absorb this loss themselves, this kind of pricing has the effect of forcing down prices in the entire market as smaller retailers struggle to compete.” Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

Supermarkets often have “loss leaders”. What really matters is that all farmers supplying milk to these supermarkets feel fairly treated and happy with the price they are paid. However, if a large supermarket is pushing prices down to push out smaller retailers. Our UK Dairy farmers will end up with very few and very powerful trade customers. (The NEW Independent Dairy Code Adjudicator will have a huge role to play here in the same way with the existing Grocery Code Adjudicator)

3.

“Better labelling of British produce.

Many consumers are unaware that a number of the major cheddar brands on the shelves are produced in Europe. We need clear packaging that empowers consumers to buy British.”
Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We agree and want all milk as an ingredient or bottles to clearly say which country it is from for both food retail and foodservice.

4.

"More domestic production of dairy products.

Two-thirds of our cheese and 30 per cent of our butter is imported. We need to invest more in processing technology to make sure we are adding value to British milk by turning more of it into British butter, yoghurt and cheese.” Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We 100% agree. At CUfarms.uk, we want to market, process and sell more British milk plus a vast array of new innovative market-leading UK Dairy products. All centralised and facilitated by CUfarms.uk. Helping to develop emerging markets for UK Dairy farmers both here in the UK and creating new opportunities abroad with recognised sustainable branding.

5.

"More supply chain transparency and enforcement.

We know how much a farmer gets paid for a pint of milk, and we know how much we pay for it in the shops. What we don’t know is how big the margins are in-between. We need to work towards the kind of transparency that allows us to follow milk from farmer to shelf. This then has to be enforced by a tough Grocery Code Adjudicator.”

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We agree, the very future of CUfarms.uk and the UK Dairy industry as a whole depends on the introduction of an “INDEPENDENT”, “TOUGH” “Dairy Code Adjudicator “. An adjudicator is answerable to the government of the day. This process will help us to achieve price transparency throughout the chain and expose abuse of power, breach of contract and those who disregard fairness and sustainability.

6.

"More Dairy Producer Organisations.
Groups of farmers banding together to negotiate a better sale price for milk and a lower purchase price for feed and machinery are commonplace across Europe. In the UK we currently have only one such producer organisation. We need more.” Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We agree, we intend to create a large recognised and respected UK Producer Organisation (PO) for like-minded UK Dairy Farmers. CUFarms.uk can then buy, market and sell efficiently our world-leading branded offering.

7.

Government must buy British.
National government is working hard to purchase British dairy products, but we must push the local government, hospitals, schools, and military establishments to do the same.” Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We want a comprehensive and centralised marketing investment into British milk with a customer-facing, farmer-owned brand that represents the whole of the UK Dairy industry.

8.

"A working dairy futures market.
Futures are a way for farmers to agree on a pre-arranged price for the milk they will produce in the future. The price stability this can give has the potential to be invaluable to the volatile dairy industry.”

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We will be centralising, collating and facilitating any renegotiating required to comply with any mandatory dairy code. A vast range of contracts will be offered for consideration by our farmers. We will also be coordinating and offering international contract opportunities resulting from new trading agreements in emerging markets.

9.

"Review of levy board spending.
Every dairy farmer in the UK currently pays a percentage of their income to a government-run levy board (AHDB Dairy). Many farmers feel that more of that money needs to be spent promoting the benefits of milk and encouraging consumers to choose British.”

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We agree - we want comprehensive and centralised investment and marketing access (a proportioned Levi money access would help achieve this) into British milk with a recognised, customer/consumer-facing brand that personifies the UK Dairy industry.

10.

"Immediate financial assistance
The EU has announced a €500m crisis fund to support vulnerable dairy farmers and we must get our fair share. Also, it is important that regular CAP payments made to farmers should be made as quickly as possible to ease cash flow. Lastly, HMRC and banks must be flexible in how they treat farmers.”

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

We believe a large inclusive Producer Organisation (PO), benefiting from the same style of support the existing EU PO’s receive will enable us to build a sustainable future for Dairy Farmers. As to payment terms, we will name and shame all examples of breach of contract that the farmers receive from their supply chain.

“Recently, I spoke to an 80- year-old farmer who told me that in a lifetime of dairy farming he had never seen times so bad. With farmgate milk prices falling 30 per cent in a year – in many cases below the cost of production – it’s far from an exaggeration.

 

We can’t kid ourselves that there is a magic wand that can solve the global problems with the dairy market. But after speaking to local farmers, government ministers and industry experts I believe there is more that both the Government and the industry can be doing to help

This plan represents the ten key steps that can and must be taken if we are to protect this a valuable part of our rural community. Without its dairy farmers, Yorkshire’s magical landscape would soon see its lush fields turn to scrub and its dry-stone-walls go unrepaired. Meanwhile, with Britain already only 60 per cent self-sufficient in food, our country’s ability to feed itself in a time of crisis would be diminished. It is crucial that we work together to get through the current crisis.”

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP

Source: Rishi Sunak, Facebook page

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Email: rob@forwardfood.tech