13 November 1998

Assurance – tell em

PRODUCERS have been castigated for failing to capitalise on farm assurance schemes by not telling consumers of their importance, a missed chance to increase prices for farm assured produce.

Richard Sibley, national secretary of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, who spoke in favour of a national assurance scheme for milk at Liverpool University this week, said that the deep suspicion held by producers about who benefits from such schemes was self inflicted.

Mr Sibley added that where consumers were told of the need for farm assured milk, the potential to increase the milk price was greater than opting for a genetic advertising campaign. NFUresearch suggested generic advertising could boostmilk price by 0.5p/litre.

"Ideally, the assurance scheme and advertising campaign should run together." He added that there was no reason why most producers should not comply with a national scheme without incurring extra costs or effort.

"Many already belong to schemes run by milk buyers."

said Mr Sibley.