20 November 2000
Farmers welcome school milk spend

By FWi staff

DAIRY farmers have welcomed news that the government will spend 1.5 million to protect the European Unions subsidised school milk scheme.

Junior agriculture minister Joyce Quin pledged to make good a reduction in funding the scheme which is due to come into effect on 1 January, 2001.

The 1.5m bill will be split between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Health and the Department for Education, she said.

Ian Kerr, chairman of the Scottish National Farmers Union milk committee, said it was vital in promoting the milk-drinking habit in young children.

“If they are made aware of the benefits of drinking milk at this age, then they may become milk drinkers for life.”

The government should also look at ways to promote the image of milk in secondary schools, said Mr Kerr.

“Soft drinks companies, with significant promotional funds, have already targeted this impressionable group at school level,” he said.

Jim Begg, director general of the Dairy Industry Federation, which represents milk processors, also welcomed the governments 1.5m pledge.

“School milk is one of the foundations of the liquid milk market and it is important we have the opportunity to fully benefit from the scheme.”