Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead, has called for urgent talks with his UK and Welsh counterparts as part of a five-point plan to tackle the milk price crisis.
After a meeting with NFU Scotland representatives on Thursday (12 July), Mr Lochhead called for a ministerial summit in advance of the Royal Welsh Show (23-26 July).
The five-point plan includes:
- Calling for a ministerial summit to discuss the current situation and establish a timetable for consulting on legislation.
- Asking DEFRA minister Jim Paice to appoint an independent, objective facilitator to assist with the current negotiations between producers and processors in an effort to agree a voluntary code of practice.
- Writing to retailers demanding clarity for consumers about how much producers receive for their milk.
- Commissioning a long-term strategic review to establish where the dairy industry wants to be in 10 years and how to get there.
- Making sure the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) have sufficient resources to accelerate their existing work on producer organisations and co-operatives.
Mr Lochhead said the meeting highlighted the need for urgent action to tackle the issue of dairy prices.
“I was left in no doubt about the anger and frustration our dairy farmers are feeling and I can understand why they feel so aggrieved,” he said.
“I’ve been working hard to find a solution that better meets the needs of our dairy farmers and today’s meeting with the NFUS was part of that. We must find a way to maximise the potential of this sector while also guaranteeing farmers are paid a fair price for a valuable product.”