Bates welcomes DEFRA Committee inquiry into DFB collapse

July 23, 2009 10:38 AM

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Bates AM, has welcomed the news that Westminster's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will examine the background and implications of Dairy Farmers of Britain's (DFB) collapse and hopes that it will bring much needed clarity and reassurance to farmers over the future stability of the Welsh dairy industry. The Committee will consider in particular: * the impact of the collapse of DFB on dairy farmers and the industry; * the governance and accountability structures of DFB; * Defra's response to the collapse of DFB; and * the causes and lessons to be learned from the collapse of DFB. Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Mick stated: "The collapse of DFB had a devastating impact on so many farmers who were left with no milk cheque for produce they had already supplied, which left around 1,800 farmers in Wales stranded in a very difficult financial position, facing pressure from both the banks and their clients forcing them to sell milk below cost price. "There are many questions to be answered over the demise of the co-operative and I am deeply concerned over the impact that this collapse will have had on the future of the Welsh dairy industry, as many farmers may have lost their confidence in the future stability of this sector. "According to a recent DairyCo report, 12% of Welsh dairy farmers intend to leave the industry within the next two years and if the milk price paid to producers falls by 4p in the next two years, then 70% of farmers will leave the dairy industry. "These are shocking figures but are a sad reflection of the lack of support for our Welsh dairy farmers, who work unbelievably hard against the challenge of huge increases in input costs and powerful supermarkets with no intention of sharing their profits with producers. "Ensuring viability and sustainability for Welsh co-operative farmers who put their faith in the Dairy Farmers of Britain is now crucial. I hope that the EFRA inquiry will shed some light on the demise of DFB and answer the many questions that have been raised, to reassure farmers that we will not see a repeat of this incident and that dairy farming will remain profitable, to bring some stability to the future of the Welsh dairy industry."

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