Dairy Coalition calls for milk buyers to fully implement the code of conduct
The Dairy Coalition has warned milk buyers that they must implement the dairy industry code of best practice on contractual relationships in the supply chain ‘without delay’ or they will face the consequences.
The coalition, which is made up of the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, FFA, TFA, WFU and the RABDF, has also gone on to call for prices to rise. They have stated that the further price rise is urgently needed by farmers, and that companies who are not complying will be made public.
Mansel Raymond, the NFU dairy board chairman, said:“If Co-ops, smaller processors or any milk buyer for that matter thinks the code doesn’t apply to them, they are wrong.
“It is the responsibility of every milk buyer to ensure the voluntary approach to improving milk contracts succeeds. The alternative is legislation and the coalition will not rest until we see better more balanced contracts for dairy farmers.”
The president of the NFU, Peter Kendall, challenged the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, David Heath to support the full implementation of the code. Kendall said: “As a coalition we are committed to the success of the code and trust Defra to be equally committed.
“That said, we welcome David Heath’s recent challenge to processors, when he told the Dairy UK board that if contracts do not improve via the voluntary route, Defra will look to legislate.”
Gary Mitchell, NFUS milk committee chairman, said: “Processors and Dairy UK have suggested the end of March is a realistic time by which contracts will be improved.
“While we’d like to see improvements before this date, we certainly will not sanction delays beyond this. We will challenge retailers and food businesses to only buy milk via compliant contracts or from processors who comply with the code and non-compliance will be made very public.”
Also speaking in a statement released on the NFU official website was the Farmers for Action chairman David Handley. He said: “Despite all of our efforts, farm gate milk prices for deliveries in January are typically only 1ppl to 2ppl higher than in April 2012. Since then, however, costs of production have risen by 3ppl to 4ppl.
“Farmers need to see improving dairy market conditions translated into farm gate milk price rises.”