There could be a severe shortfall of milk in the UK if processors and retailers do not work together to secure future supplies, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has warned.
Its chairman Lyndon Edwards urged retailers to follow Waitrose’s lead and source only home-produced dairy ingredients and reduce the amount of imported product.
“While UK producer numbers continue to decline, albeit at a slower rate, we recorded a significant 1.46bn litre shortfall in production last year, while we continue to import one million litres of milk daily, as well as 400,000 tonnes of cheese annually.”
He said the UK should learn from trends in other countries, such as the US where milk production and exports were forecast to decline from 2010 due to a reduction in cow numbers. In Russia too, 99% of dairy farmers had reported losses and a milk deficit had been forecast from this autumn.
“In view of the pending shortfall of dairy products globally, we would urge processors, retailers and food service to work together with farmers to ensure a secure supply of milk and dairy products for British consumers or risk a shortfall accompanied by inflated prices.”