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15 August 2012 | Adam Leach
A powerful group of dairy farmers has set out a plan on how to redress the balance in the supply chain and hold buyers to account.
The 10-point plan comes after last month’s protest by farmers, which caused major dairy firms to reverse proposed cuts to the price they pay farmers for milk .
The Dairy Coalition, which counts the NFU and NFU Scotland among its members, has vowed to channel its efforts to reform the dairy supply chain with three main objectives: exposing bad practice; redefining and empowering the farmers’ role in the supply chain; and ensuring the supply chain is transparent and fair.
Speaking after the agreement was signed, Mansel Raymond, chair of the NFU dairy board, said: “What is very clear is that the dairy market has failed. Market highs have not been passed down to the farm gate. We need to see all milk buyers developing their own appropriate and transparent milk procurement and pricing models that are equitable for all parties and cover farmers’ production costs.”
The group promised to expose “those whose damaging behaviour undermines the liquid milk market”. It will also work to develop a whistleblower mechanism so that farmers can report breaches of the code of good practice without fear of repercussions. The group will also work to finalise the code of good practice covering dairy contracts.
As well as calling on buyers to be more transparent about their pricing, the coalition will also work to make farmers better informed on market dynamics. It will work with industry group DairyCo to give farmers access to “up-to-date global trends, league tables and dairy market predictions”. Cheese will also become an area of focus for the group and it will campaign for own-label supermarket cheese to be British.