Government encouraged to protect dairy farmers

  • Posted

Posted 08/06/2011

MPs have urged the government to amend agricultural laws to ensure dairy farmers tied into commercial contracts are offered a fair price for their products.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk, raised the issue, pointing out that farmers in the UK receive some of the lowest prices in Europe for milk products, which has led to eight farms in East Anglia going out of business in recent months, the BBC reports.

Agriculture minister James Paice said he was sympathetic to their plight, but explained the government’s options are limited.

He stated that a move to establish a minimum price for milk sales would contravene European law, while it cannot dictate how contracts between farmers and retailers are drawn up.

Dr Poulter, however, said the prices offered to UK dairy owners for their milk is “unacceptable”.

“We need to drill down into why British farmers are not paid a fair price for milk whereas a much higher price is paid by European retailers to their milk producers,” he remarked.

Last month, the National Farmers Union warned that if action is not taken to improve regulation in the sector, many dairy farms could be driven out of business.


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