23 November 1999
Mini-marques will get into processing — Byers

By Farmers Weekly staff

PROCESSING will be the way forward for the new dairy co-ops set up to replace Milk Marque, trade secretary Stephen Byers today (Tuesday) told MPs.

Speaking to the Commons agriculture select committee on the future of milk marketing, Mr Byers said it was his personal opinion that processing was the way forward for the industry.

And he predicted that the three regional dairy co-ops set up to replace Milk Marque will be ready to go into processing by the middle of next year.

Asked why other countries were allowed to have large processing co-operatives but the UK was not, Mr Byers said having a dominant share of the market was not a problem in itself, but abusing that position was.

Another key difference was that other markets were not self-contained and there was more crossborder trading.

Farm minister Nick Brown told MPs on the cross party committee that the industry was going through a transitional period but the dairy sector had a “good and secure future”.