No one can deny that this once great nation of ours is in a trouble caused by a government that spent more than we were earning and now we have a government that believes that the way to reverse our decline is to reduce our expenditure which unfortunately is not working.
Increase our industrial and agricultural production
I believe very strongly that the way forward is to follow the example of Germany and that is to increase our industrial and agricultural production. Germany’s economy is growing from strength to strength and have now taken over two of our milk processing companies.
We now read of panic measures being taken over the second announcement of milk producer substantial price reduction. The minister Jim Paice is to hold a summit meeting with industrial leaders and the NFU called an emergency meeting at Stafford Show Ground when 500 farmers attended. We hear calls for direct action and demonstrations and even disrupting the London Olympics. I have always been opposed to any form of demonstration and I do not want the dairy farmers to go down to the level of the Doctors and London Underground drivers.
Monopoly powers given to the supermarkets
What is wrong is that the monopoly powers were taken away from the dairy farmer (MMB in 1979) and given to the supermarkets and since the they have steadily increased their margins at the expense of the housewife, farmer and processor.
Unless this monopoly is reversed urgently we will see the total demise of the dairy farmers with the consequential loss of many jobs on our farms and processing industry. 2.5% of the working population work on the farm while 18% of the working population depend on agriculture for a living.
Every successful manufacturing company in this country controls their own marketing and we must ask why was this taken away from the dairy farmer and, now that it has proved such a disaster to the producer and consumer, why doesn’t the government admit their error and return the powers to the farmer again (Milk Marketing Board – MMB)?
A Labour MP has now spoken out that he warned and said that he warned the NFU and advised them to resist the changes made to the MMB and I also criticized the NFU very strongly. I was ignored and ridiculed and was very unpopular because of my strong views. In hindsight it is obvious the NFU came over weakly and I was right.
There is no doubt that this calls for government intervention and I accept that if this is not forthcoming joint action must be taken by the milk producer and the processing trade. If this was a football match you would read on the poster:
Dairy farmers/Processors V Supermarkets
There is no reason why the present system should not continue during a dispute with the processors collecting the milk off the farms and processing it mainly into butter cheese etc.
Why not take over some of these empty shops on the high street and sell these milk and milk products direct to the housewife?
No milk or milk product would be sold to the supermarkets unless they pay the producer at least 30 pence per litre and any surplus would be sold on the world market, maybe at a loss, but more profitable than pouring the milk away and more acceptable to the housewife.
Now that the industry has shown some solidarity and the supermarkets have overstepped the mark the producer and processors must continue their determination to bring the supermarkets to heel once and for all. Do not accept some panic move by the supermarkets that they can reverse later. Producers must take over the control of market and any processor not cooperating must be boycotted. Farmers should not worry about any contracts they have entered into as no judge will look a contract that is destroying the prime producer.
Only a strong and determined industry will win this long term and I urge the producer not to give in at whatever financial cost which will be less painful than selling milk at 24 pence per litre. After all the supermarkets are only interested in lining the pockets of their shareholders.
We hear talk of employing an ombudsman to safeguard the producer margin, but this I am very opposed to as the first thing the supermarkets would do is to take him to the dentist to remove his teeth. To succeed the producer and processor must make a positive and brave stand once and for all or there will be no more dairy industry that was once the envy of the world. The ball is in our court.
Press Release: Sir Eric Howells CBE, Meadow View, Llanddewi Velfrey, Narberth, Pembrokeshire SA67 7EJ. Tel. 01994240205. Mobile 07754124582. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
9 July 2012