Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Fair Deal for British Farmers - trying to fix a broken milk market


This week I have launched a campaign to get a fair deal for the regions farmers after meeting with diary farmers hit by a cut in milkprices this week. The changes have meant the amount paid to some British dairy farmers for their milk recently fell 5 to 6p a litre below what it costs to produce.

Many of you will have read how hard dairy farmers are being hit at the moment. I am hopeful the Government's Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, and which will effectively create a Supermarket Watchdog, will be the key to getting a better deal for the regions under-threatdairy farmers. I want to ensure the Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill will protect suppliers and farmers against retailers passing on excessive risks or unexpected costs.

People want to buy British. They want to support british farming. People want british meat and british milk on our supermarket shelves, but that is only worth something if the farmers are getting a fair deal from the supermarkets and big processors. The first step of our campaign is to push the Government to speed up and enforce the draft code of practice between milk processors and producers. This is the only the way to start to repair the broken milk market in the short term.

In this case Dairy Farmers deserve equal and fair contracts with the big milk processors. The current situation where a processor can end the contract immediately - but the farmer has to give six months notice - is just unfair and wrong.

Too many people seem to think free markets are the answer ...well not when those markets have broken down. Processors and Supermarkets are abusing their power. The cost of almost everything in this country is regulated, except the price of milk.

I won't be afraid of naming and shaming the worst supermarkets in this Fair Deal for Farmers campaign.
I urge you to think twice about going to Asda, Morrisons and the Co-Op, who are squeezing every last drop of life out of our rural economy; they should be ashamed at themselves for forcing farmers to operate at a loss.

Our campaign will make sure the voices and concerns of local farmers’ are fully represented to the government. British Farmers are not asking for the earth, simply a fair price for their produce.