Junior DEFRA minister Ben Bradshaw has said that dairy farmers need to focus on profitability, as well as farmgate milk prices.

 

During a debate on the dairy industry in Westminster Hall on Tuesday (22 May), Mr Bradshaw said that pressure on farmgate prices will remain and is “simply a fact of life”.

 

But he pointed out that was a worrying disparity in the costs of production of the most and least efficient dairy producers.

 

“We encourage all producers to examine carefully their production costs and to seek ways in which to minimise them. The rest of the supply chain also has its part to play in maximising efficiency, innovating and adding value.”

 

The debate was secured by Lib Dem MP Mark Williams (Ceredigion) who said Tesco had started to pay more for liquid milk – which was an important move – but only 11% of producers would benefit.

 

“It is vital that supermarkets offer fairer pricing structures for cheese, as well,” he said. “I accept that the cheese market is more complex, but supermarkets must make efforts in this area too.”

 

Read Hansard to read the dairy debate in full.