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NFU Milk investigation shows the needs for a strong food market regulator

November 15, 2010 12:00 AM
Rural TF

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today called on the government to introduce a strong food market regulator as quickly as possible after an investigation of the dairy industry by the National Farmers Union (NFU) was released.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has today called on the government to introduce a strong food market regulator as quickly as possible after an investigation of the dairy industry by the National Farmers Union (NFU) was released.

The report by the NFU said a climate of fear has been uncovered by its Milk Robbery investigation, with milk buyers forced to sign confidentiality agreements so that no details of negotiations with retailers can be disclosed, meaning the supply chain is kept dangerously in the dark.

In the investigation no milk buyer attempted to claim that farmers were getting their fair share of market returns under questioning by the NFU - instead buyers' said that the price farmers received for their milk was 'competitive'. The supermarkets on average make a profit of 30% on a pint of milk while the producer makes a small loss, Tim Farron believes this state of affairs cannot continue and something has to be done quickly to protect South Lakeland farmers.

Tim said: "I have long been concerned about the raw deal British farmers receive at the hands of supermarkets. I believe it is high time we get fair trade for farmers whether they are from Columbia or Cumbria. The supermarkets have the ability to pay a fairer and more stable price and to continue to retail at affordable prices.

There is fat in the system. It is on the retail side. You know it and they know it. We need a strong food market regulator based on an OFCOM model to protect farmers in Cumbria and make sure they have a level playing field."