‘Drastic action’ called for to ensure the future of UK farming – NFU

Drastic action must be taken to address issues regarding the sale and supply of food, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).

This follows the urgent summit held on August 10, involving the British, Scottish, Welsh and Ulster farming unions in regards to the current market difficulties.

The joint committee has announced a range of measures involving both the government and retailers.

The organisation has called for the government, industry and the EU to take urgent action in regards to food sales and pricing.

The NFU says that unless the way food is sold is changed in the near future there will be dire consequences for both the farming and the rural economy.

The farmers’ organisation says that if the continued pricing structure continues and stakeholders ignore the warning signs there will be dire consequences.

The NFU says that retailers must also stop devaluing UK milk to bring in customers. They have urged retailers to ensure that all the food they stock has come from a farm that has been paid a fair price.

The average June milk price in the UK was 23.66p/L or 33c/L with the majority of this product sold as liquid milk, says the NFU.

Some 85% of the milk produced in the UK is consumed domestically, in the form of liquid milk or processed products, it says.

British dairy farmers now receive 55% of the price customers pay for milk which has fallen from 68% in 2014, it says.

The NFU’s major issue, however, is the fall in farm gate milk price. The milk price the farmer receives has fallen 26% while four pints of milk have only fallen by 7% in the supermarkets.

The UK government must meet urgently and admit that something has gone fundamentally wrong in the supply chain and remedial action must be taken, it says.

The NFU has also encouraged the UK government to implement legislation to ensure that contracts to all farmers are longer term and are fairer in apportioning both the risk and reward.

At the moment, it says, a lot of the risk is put on the farmer with very little of the reward.

They also say that there are issues regarding labeling and it must be a priority to ensure that products produced in the UK are marketed abroad.

The UK farmer’s organisation has also called Ministers to make their voices heard at the emergency meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers on September 7.

It wants this emergency meeting to ensure that European safety nets are at a proper level and also to underwrite the short term credit position of vulnerable farmers.