Nigel today spoken out for a fair deal for dairy farmers, in the face of a new price war between supermarkets, with some outlets now selling 4 pints for as little as 89p. This is set against the background of dairy farmers facing an even bigger challenge, with milk quotas being removed by the EU. Introduced over 20 years ago, countries in the EU faced fines for overproduction, the removal of quotas will increase supply and thus reduce milk prices further.
Speaking from Westminster this morning Mr Evans said, “In the past decade over half of Britain’s dairy farmers have gone out of business. We will soon reach a stage where dairy farming is not a viable profession in the UK, which would be a tragedy. The Groceries’ Regulator needs to do more to encourage supermarkets to start a price war on milk. In some supermarkets buying milk is now cheaper than mineral water, a ridiculous situation.
The Ribble Valley’s economy has a large agricultural sector, of which dairy farming plays an important part. Farmers need to be backed by central government and given adequate protection by the regulator. This matters to farmers from Slaidburn to Suffolk, Clitheroe to Cornwall.
I spoke in Parliament on this subject last year, stating that people are happy to pay a fair price for milk, rather than leaving farmers out of pocket. I will be writing to Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to bring this situation to her attention and will be campaigning for a fair deal for dairy farmers. Something has to be done before this vital industry is lost.”