NFU Scotland has expressed concern over Milk Development Council
(MDC) figures from the fourth annual Farmer Intentions Survey which
show that milk production in the UK is likely to fall by 7 per cent,
or 900 million litres, over the next two years.
The survey results show that the number of dairy farmers intending to leave
the industry has risen to the highest level in three years (16 per cent),
and that more farmers are uncertain about whether to expand.
The Union welcomed an announcement from Tesco on Tuesday that they will
be paying a selection of their dairy producers a higher milk price. The
development will give much needed help to some of the UK’s dairy farmers
but additional steps are needed before the rest of the dairy industry can
also look forward to a more secure future.
NFUS Milk Committee Chairman, Willie Lamont, said:
“We welcome the lead which Tesco gave at the beginning of this week
which must be followed by others if we want to ensure that consumers can
still buy Scottish milk in years to come.
“We have to be realistic about the situation that Scotland’s
dairy farmers are in. Unless other retailers follow Tesco’s lead and
the price increase is extended to cover other dairy products such as cheese
and yoghurt, then the Farming Intentions Survey could prove to be horrifyingly
accurate and we could see many more farmers leaving the industry.
“If retailers want to source domestic milk then they must ensure
that the incentives are there for farmers to continue producing it, in terms
of making adequate profit and also being able to reinvest in their businesses.
“The uncertainty in the industry is very obviously having an effect
and making people think seriously about quitting. Even the most efficient
units are either giving up or failing to reinvest which is a worrying pattern.
“Hence it is important that the Tesco move marks the beginning of
positive momentum to build a sustainable future.”
Plea for Farmers' Views on Wage Changes
Million Pound Success as DNA Testing Rolls Out
Budget 2007 - Transport Hit for Rural Areas