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Dairy UK has today issued the following comment in response to the announcement from Defra today on a collaboration fund and other measures for dairy farmers:

On the decision against extending the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator:

We welcome the announcement that there will be an examination of extending the remit of the GCA to additional retailers. The GCA has been successful in addressing many aspects of the buying culture. The food supply chain would benefit from extending the scope of the GCA to smaller retailers and the food service sector.

We are pleased that the Government has decided not to extend the remit of the GCA down the supply chain. Dairy UK has long pointed out that doing so would be impractical in terms of implementation, lack an available funding model and seriously detract from successfully focusing on the relations between suppliers and retailers.

On the announcement of a £10 million collaboration fund:

We also welcome the announcement today of the collaboration fund of 10 million to support farmers and small producers. Dairy UK is supportive of any initiative which promotes collaboration between dairy farmers and the wider chain, in a way that is easily accessible for dairy farmers.

On Milk contracts:

Any legislation created now relating to milk contracts will have to meet the requirements of the EU dairy package. This package is incompatible with the needs of the UK dairy industry, especially given the volatile market in which it now operates.

As a part of agricultural policy, legislating on milk contracts is also a devolved matter. There is therefore a risk of creating competitive distortions within the UK milk market.

We would hope that after consultation that any proposed legislative action that was to be taken by Defra on contracts would be delayed until after our exit from the EU, in order that solutions could be tailored to the needs of the UK dairy industry, especially since it will face an even more competitive and uncertain environment post-Brexit.

On price transparency:

This is an area which Dairy UK is already looking at and look forward to the opportunity to provide input into any relevant consultations on the subject of price transparency. We await further information from Government on the scope of the initiatives it is planning.