Nia Griffith MP is calling on the UK Government to act urgently to help Welsh dairy farmers, who in the past few months have seen milk prices drop catastrophically by 25% to a seven year low. Raising the matter at Welsh questions in Parliament this week, she referred to the report on Dairy Prices produced by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Agriculture select committee,which criticises the grocery adjudicator’s role as too narrow and highlights the Government’s failure to pass the necessary legislation to enable the Grocery Adjudicator to impose fines.
Nia explained, “The Grocery Adjudicator or Supermarket Ombudsman has been left absolutely toothless because the Government has spent over a year, dragging its feet on deciding on the level of fine she can impose, but in addition to this, the Adjudicator can only deal with supermarkets which deal directly with farmers, whereas most dairy farmers sell to the big milk processors and these middlemen are not covered by the adjudicator. Given what we have seen happening with First Milk recently, the adjudicator’s role really needs to be extended as a matter of utmost urgency to cover the processors, and yet the Conservative Government seems content to kick this back to 2016.
In the meantime I know that that the Welsh Government Agriculture Minister Rebecca Evans AM got onto the problem a lot sooner, setting up a review into dairy prices last October which is due to report in the next couple of weeks, and has provided support to Welsh farmers through Farming Connect.”