‘UK unlikely to push for a hike in dairy intervention prices’

It is highly unlikely that the UK’s Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Liz Truss will go to Brussels seeking an increase in EU intervention prices on behalf of UK milk producers, according to Dairy Industry Newsletter (DIN) Editor Catherine Paice.

“Producer prices are currently in the range 22p/L to 24p/L,” she said.

“The new Conservative government is totally against interventionist economic policies. As a consequence, the likelihood of Liz Tuss pushing for an increase in dairy intervention prices is extremely remote.

“A £5m dairy fund was established three years ago to facilitate greater collaboration and research-related activities within the milk industry. I think this is as much as the current government at Westminster is prepared to do, in terms of supporting the interests of the dairy sector at the present time.”

Paice confirmed that the ongoing farmer protests are engendering a lot of public support for the plight of milk producers in the UK.

“These activities have certainly done a lot to raise awareness of just how difficult it is for British dairy farmers to make a living at the present time. Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose plus M&S already pay an agreed producer price for the liquid milk, which reflects the costs of production incurred by dairy farmers.

“As a consequence, the protesters have concentrated their efforts on highlighting the other multiple retailers who have not committed, thus far, to procurement arrangements of this nature. And there is evidence that the protests are having the desired effect.

“All of the main retailers are now committing to ensuring a greater a degree of transparency in the way that they do business with their milk suppliers. It is also evident that British consumers, for the most part, are happy to pay a realistic price for the milk they buy in the shops.”

Liquid milk accounts for approximately 60% of the total output generated by British dairy farmers.

“The remainder is accounted for by processed products, including butter and cheese,” said Paice.

“There are no plans for the UK multiples to introduce a guaranteed producer price scheme for products of this nature.”

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