NFU calls for new taskforce to grow British dairy exports

The UK dairy industry currently exports over £1.6bn worth of products to more than 135 countries
The UK dairy industry currently exports over £1.6bn worth of products to more than 135 countries

A new taskforce should be set up to help grow British dairy exports amid increasing uncertainty caused by the pandemic and Brexit, the NFU has recommended.

The union has published a new export strategy to help the British dairy sector unlock new opportunities in international markets.

The report identifies actions that set out to enhance the industry’s export performance and add value through selling more British dairy products abroad.

The strategy, launched today (15 September) at the UK Dairy Day, hopes to double the value of British dairy exports over the next 10 years.

The sector already exports over £1.6bn worth of dairy products to more than 135 countries across Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

But it follows a spell of uncertainty for dairy farmers faced by market volatility, the country’s exit from the EU and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In particular, a new Dairy Export Taskforce, whose sole purpose would be to grow dairy exports, should be created to help improve exports, the report said.

Government investment, in partnership with the industry, should drive dairy exports through trade deals, agriculture counsellors, and market development.

And new investment should be encouraged in the domestic processing capacity to take advantage of new markets.

The strategy also makes clear the importance of the British dairy brand on the global stage not being undermined by trade deals that allow imports that fail to meet the UK's high standards.

NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said: "The time is right to take a fresh look at our exporting opportunities and capitalise on the tremendous global support for British dairy products.

“By expanding our markets overseas, we can strengthen and enhance the domestic milk market, as well as cementing our position as a profitable and progressive industry.

“There’s no doubt we are at a crucial time for British farming, as the government seeks to do free trade deals with countries around the world."