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22 July 2012

Stevenson Welcomes Scottish Government Five Point Dairy Action Plan

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the Scottish Government’s five-point action plan to help tackle the current pricing crisis in the dairy industry and find better ways to support Scotland’s dairy farmers.

The action plan was unveiled by the Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead following a meeting with representatives of NFU Scotland and he has also called for a dairy summit with his UK and Welsh counterparts in advance of the Royal Welsh Show.

These developments come hard on the heels of mass demonstrations at Westminster, where around 2,000 farmers from across the UK gathered to voice their concerns and demand action over the latest round of milk price cuts to the UK Government.   

The Rural Secretary’s five point plan includes:
  • Calling for a ministerial summit to discuss the current situation and establish a timetable for consulting on legislation
  • Asking Defra Minister Jim Paice to appoint an independent objective facilitator to assist with the current negotiations between producers and processors in an effort to agree a voluntary code of practice
  • Writing to retailers demanding clarity for consumers about how much producers receive for their milk
  • Commissioning a long-term strategic review to establish where the dairy industry wants to be in 10 years and how to get there.
  • Ensuring the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) have sufficient resources to accelerate their existing work on producer organisations and co-operatives
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is clear dairy farmers are angry and frustrated about the current situation, and I can understand why they feel so aggrieved.  

“The Rural Secretary is working hard to find a solution that meets the needs of our farmers and helps them to continue in business.  Mr Lochhead’s meeting with NFU Scotland and his five point action plan are all steps to try and find a way to maximise the potential of the sector while ensuring farmers are paid a fair price for their valuable product.

“Mr Lochhead is clear that every part of the supply chain must play their part in finding a solution to the current problem, including retailers and supermarkets, and the UK Government must act quickly to support the industry.”
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