NFU Cymru has welcomed the report by Andy Richardson (Corporate Communications Manager at Volac) who was tasked by Welsh Government Deputy Minister Rebecca Evans to undertake an independent review of the Welsh Dairy Sector.
Andy Richardson’s 26 recommendations are encompassed within five key areas of leadership, market focus, knowledge and skills, efficiency and environment.
Aled Jones, NFU Cymru’s Milk Board Chairman said, “Whilst these headings aren’t new the report itself does now provide a valuable opportunity and a starting point for Welsh Government and industry to set about seriously tackling the problems and gaps that are clearly evident within the sector to help ensure a fairer, more sustainable dairy industry going forward.”
NFU Cymru identified several recommendations that it considers to be strategically vital for the Welsh dairy sector in moving forward, including;
- Establishing a Welsh Dairy Leadership Board, which integrates the Dairy Task Force for Wales (DTFW), chaired by industry, building on the existing Welsh Dairy Task Force to drive forward strategy and coordinate activities.
- Complete a feasibility study to evaluate the potential of a market driven dairy processing facility in South West Wales to provide a secure added value market for the anticipated additional 400m litres per annum of Welsh milk produced by 2020.
- Ensure that the next round of European Structural Funds, including the future RDP, is used to encourage and facilitate improved primary milk production, dairy processing, product marketing and innovation in Wales.
- Establish a next generation engagement project which is accountable to the Welsh Dairy Leadership Board to connect school children to dairy farming and dairy products.
- Work with the Government public procurement service to ensure Welsh dairy products are included in tenders to supply Welsh schools and hospitals and the wider public sector.
- Develop a common strategy and funding plan to improve knowledge transfer, business skills and leadership for dairy farmers.
- Develop farmer understanding of how the global, UK and Welsh dairy markets operate and how to future proof their businesses against market volatility.
- Improve the uptake of Glastir by making the scheme more attractive to dairy farmers.
Aled Jones ended, “We are pleased that the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food has accepted the recommendations and NFU Cymru look forward to getting involved and pushing each and every one forward in a meaningful and determined manner to make a difference to the Welsh dairy sector.”