To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to support the UK dairy industry.
10 December 2014
The Government understands the concerns of British dairy farmers over the current pressures caused by the price volatility of the global market. I brought forward a meeting of the Dairy Supply Chain Forum to 19 November to discuss ways of tackling this issue and Ministers and officials are both in regular contact with industry. In particular, we are working to help farmers to manage the short term impact of price volatility and maximise its potential. We have given dairy farmers the opportunity for greater influence in the marketplace through uniting in Producer Organisations. The new Countryside Productivity Scheme, which will start in 2015, will include grants for investment in equipment, start-up activity for young farmers, and projects to help tackle endemic diseases.
The long term prospects for growth in the dairy sector are good and UK dairy exports are now at record levels reaching £1.3billion last year, a nominal increase of 62% since 2009. We are pushing within Europe for better Country of Origin labelling for British dairy products. In the past year we have opened new markets for UK dairy in Cuba, Honduras, and Madagascar which supported 47% year on year growth in non-EU dairy exports in 2014.