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Europe key to getting fair milk price for north west farmers says NFU
21/03/05

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 British entity.

"Therefore, I believe it's vitally important that our new European allies are secured very quickly."

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