Europe is one of the largest dairy markets in the world and most of the UK’s exports of dairy products currently go to the EU. We can’t afford to let our domestic food safety standards diverge from those inside the EU, because that would create a type of barrier called a ‘non-tariff barrier’. Non-tariff barriers would chip away at the competitiveness of our products by adding administrative costs – so we’d like to see continuity of standards with Europe.
Of course, the world is a big place and offers opportunities to grow new dairy markets beyond Europe.
In China, South East Asia and the Middle East consumers have a growing appetite for dairy products which are not made locally. Other opportunities for UK dairy foods could include Canada and Australia, where consumer tastes are very similar to ours here in the UK.
The UK dairy sector wants the ability to export where the best opportunities are, whether that’s the EU or beyond.
Dairy UK is working closely with those Government departments responsible for developing trade policies to ensure that dairy’s voice is heard in any future negotiations, and to remind them of the importance of dairy to the UK.
The interests of agricultural sectors such as dairy must not be sacrificed in any negotiations, we are important in helping to feed the UK and to developing trading relationships beyond the UK.
School Milk Scheme
The provision of school milk has contributed to the nutritional intakes of children for decades. For children from the poorest backgrounds it helps provide a nutritional safety net, ensuring they get high quality nutrition at least once in their school day. For all children, having milk at school helps them meet their nutritional requirements for key nutrients like calcium, protein, B vitamins, iodine and many others.
Currently, there is no guarantee from the Government that future generations will continue to receive school milk post Brexit. Dairy UK and its members are calling on the Government to make a firm commitment to continuing the School Milk Scheme post Brexit.
Domestic and International Promotion
It’s clear that if you have an exciting product, you will want to have the ability to promote it both domestically and in overseas markets.
At present all European countries have the opportunity to seek access to a pot of money for the promotion of agricultural products on the domestic and international market.
Over the years, the UK dairy sector has received funding via this route. When the UK leaves the EU, the UK dairy sector will no longer have access to those funds, but our European neighbours will still be able to do so.
As a result, they will have a competitive advantage. To level that playing field – especially considering every Government expects the dairy sector to grow and export more – we would like to see funding being made available in the UK for the promotion of dairy products on the international market.
As we leave the EU, agricultural policy in the UK will need to be reformed and revamped. The Government’s Agriculture Bill will be key in ensuring a vibrant future for dairy farmers, which meets the future food needs of our consumers and also considers the environment.
The dairy sector is committed to minimising the environmental impact of dairy production, for example by reducing waste and maximising the environmental benefits, such as increasing biodiversity. When it comes to our hard-working dairy farmers, we call upon the Government to ensure that whatever measures are put in place, these take into account the fact that our farmers are stewards of the land, are important to the nation’s food security, provide jobs and livelihoods and should not be disadvantaged compared with their European counterparts.
Our famers should be helped and encouraged through new agricultural policies to be more efficient, thereby ensuring a sustainable dairying future.