Action has to be taken to secure future of Welsh dairy industry

Concerns over the future of the dairy industry in Carmarthenshire have been voiced after figures released by DairyCo revealed the money received by dairy farmers in Wales and England for their product had decreased over the last year at the same time retailer’s share of the profits went up. During 2009/2010 dairy farmers received an average of 23.8p per litre for their milk compared to 25.8p the previous year. In the same period retailers profits rose from 18.8p to 22.4p.

Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM have raised their concerns and once again backed calls for a milk and supermarket ombudsman to be established in order to fight the corner of dairy farmers.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“These figures once again show that hard working dairy farmers in Carmarthenshire are being undervalued. Dairy farmers are clearly getting to the point where their profits are being squeezed so tight that they struggle to maintain competitive. The shocking statistic that since 2006 the number of traditional welsh dairy farms in operation dropped from 2,727 to 2,094 shows the impact that these reduced profits are having on the ability of dairy farmers to operate.

I have previously lobbied for an establishment of a milk and supermarket ombudsman. It is something that time and again Plaid Cymru have put forward in Westminster but has sadly been rejected. Surely these figures show that action has to be taken.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“Unless something is done we are going to see more and more dairy farms in Wales having to close its doors. This is a key part of the county economy. The Welsh dairy farm has played a massive role in rural community life but these figures do create uncertainty for the future.”
FUW milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws said:

“We now have to ask whether the prices paid to Welsh dairy farmers are sufficient to give them a sustainable return to enable them to invest in their business and continue to supply milk in an efficient and profitable manner.

“I fear that the decline in dairy farm numbers will continue until there is a change of heart by the retailers and they start paying producers the kind of prices they badly need to allow them to fully meet their costs and invest for the future.”

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