The UK dairy sector has called for government intervention in response to the prospect of a “large surplus” of milk, with production outstripping demand.
Dairy UK, an industry body, said there is a “rapidly increasing” amount of skimmed milk powder and a growing over-supply in European dairy production. Chairman Dr David Dobbin has written to UK Farming Minister George Eustice to flag the issue.
In his letter, Dr Dobbin said: “Despite depressed returns, the growth in global milk production, especially from Europe including the UK, is still rising and running well ahead of global demand. As a result, stocks of powder, butter and cheese are high and skimmed milk is being intervened across Europe, including the UK.”
Dr Dobbin called on the UK government to use its “lobbying weight” within Europe to “achieve a smooth transition regarding intervention”. He argued: “This would help avoid further distress at farmer and processor level and would be a positive way in which DEFRA [the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] can help the UK industry.”
Dr Dobbin also stressed the need for the UK dairy sector to “up our game” and “hunt out opportunities in domestic and export markets” for British dairy products. He stressed “the need” for government and industry to work together to “develop ways to promote UK dairy globally and generate more demand in international markets”.