EU farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos has urged dairy farmers to work more closely together to win the power struggle with milk buyers.
Mr Ciolos addressed the UK milk price crisis and the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy reform on Welsh farmers at a press conference during the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells on Monday (23 July).
The commissioner applauded the intervention of UK politicians in the ongoing battle between producers and milk buyers.
He said it was important for ministers to take part in negotiations and to establish a code of practice but that alone would not secure a long-term future for milk producers.
“The code of practice could be a valuable step forward but it is not enough. Farmers in the UK will only secure a future if they work more closely together.”
Mr Ciolos said: “The code of practice could be a valuable step forward but it is not enough. Farmers in the UK will only secure a future if they work more closely together.
“They need to organise themselves into larger groups and market their produce from a position of greater strength.”
The commissioner also addressed concerns on Common Agricultural Policy reform and the move from a single farm payment system, calculated using historic receipts, to an area based method of payments.
He said that the primary role of farmers was to produce food but the public wanted to see farmers do more for the environment.
“It is important taxpayers are aware that farmers do not just look after the quality, quantity and safety of food.
“Farmers must also show to the public that they are protecting the landscape and environment,” Mr Ciolos said.
The move to an area based system would play a role in helping farmers demonstrate this wider role, he added.
See more on the milk crisis on our dedicated page.
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