IF DAIRY farmers want to see an increase in the pence per litre
they get for their milk, they'll have to look for help from Europe
warns NFU North West Dairy Board Chairman - Ray Brown.
Mr Brown has told NFU members that he wants the national NFU Dairy
Board to liaise with equivalent organisations throughout Europe
before more north west dairy farmers are put out of business due
to the ever decreasing amount they are paid for their milk. This
especially applies to milk into cheese.
"Even if all of the processors in the UK worked together
independently and managed to push the market for milk upwards nothing
would be achieved in the long term," said Mr Brown who keeps
a herd of pedigree Holstein milking cows on his 500 acre farm in
Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.
"The supermarkets would not stand for it and would simply
find a way to get cheaper imports of milk from the continent. Something
I believe the British consumer does not want to see happen because
it would not be to their long term benefit."
Mr Brown believes the solution is to work closer with European
dairy farmers in order for the industry to pull a bit of power
back from the major supermarket chains.
"We sometimes forget in this country that a lot of our European
neighbours suffer similar problems in regards to milk price. Companies
like Wal-mart (who own Asda) are global so we have to challenge
them as a European force and not just a British one.
"If we stand together as Europeans we can be represented
by EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and he can then urge the
World Trade Organisation to protect our market. But we have to
do this as Europeans. There is no way we could do this as a single
"Therefore, I believe it's vitally important that our new
European allies are secured very quickly."