NFU Scotland believes lessons could be learnt from the Dutch dairy sector to help deliver a more stable, fairer dairy supply chain in the UK.
Members of the Union’s Milk Committee are participating in a three-day study trip to the Netherlands (Tuesday, 28 September to Thursday, 30 September) that takes in dairy farms, food processing and dairy product innovation. The Scottish delegation has also met with staff and representatives of the Dutch farming union, LTO.
Speaking from the Netherlands, NFU Scotland’s Milk Policy Manager George Jamieson said:
“It is clear from the outset that the Dutch dairy industry, including their producers, appears to have benefited from greater consolidation and co-operation within its dairy supply chain. The benefits we have seen include a greater commitment and investment in dairy technology, product innovation and adding value to dairy products where part of the value actually goes back to those producing the milk.
“The outcome is that the strong world and European market for milk and dairy products seems to be working for Dutch dairy farmers with farmgate prices rising by as much as 50 per cent in the past year. Compare that with the UK where the continued market strength for dairy products has failed to generate any real benefits for dairy farmers and our farmgate prices have risen by a paltry 8 per cent.
“Seeing how the Dutch system works has only strengthened our resolve to improve the way the dairy supply chain in the UK operates. Europe’s own High Level Working Group on dairy has identified how it would improve the working of the supply chain and it was useful to hear how Dutch producers viewed the European approach.
“For our part, the NFUS milk committee is developing strategies to improve the co-operation and co-ordination of dairy farmers and their representative groups. The objective is to play a more effective, constructive part in the supply chain for the benefit of not only producers, but also the long-term security of the dairy industry.”
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