6 Conclusion |
43. The immediacy of the present milk price crisis
and the impending end of the current Parliament led us to undertake
a quick inquiry which has provided a snapshot of difficulties
facing the dairy industry rather than a detailed investigation
of its long-term challenges and opportunities. The clear lessons
emerge, none the less, that even in a global marketplace where
prices rise and prices fall, dairy faces unusual uncertainty that
makes forward planning difficult to the point of impossible for
operators in an industry containing many small businesses. The
farming Minister rightly told us that long-term opportunities
remain to be exploited by the UK's dairy farmers, and we agree
with Mr Eustice that while the Government can take steps to help,
the dairy industry itself has a significant responsibility for
its own future and is generally better placed than the Government
is to lead change.
We also agree with the NFU that the future of the industry is
best served by driving on volume of production rather than price
in promoting British dairy products.
Nor is it the role of the Government, as Mr Eustice told us, to
help individual businesses with cash-flow problems.
44. Having said that, we believe that dairy producers
need greater certainty in their future and assurance that assistance
will be provided when short-term, extreme price fluctuations threaten
their viability. The measures proposed here are intended to assist
in that direction; much more may be required if worldwide markets
continue to create substantial instability.
61 Defra (DAI0016) Back
National Farmers Union (DAI0009) Back