Scotland’s farmers’ union yesterday called on all UK governments to
cooperate to ensure producers across the country operated in an equitable environment.
NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) demands came after the Westminster
Government ruled out any extension to the remit of the Groceries Code
Adjudicator (GCA) but announced that a range of measures – including compulsory milk contracts – would be introduced in England later this year to provide greater security for dairy farmers.
NFUS president Andrew McCornick said the announcement left the union “confused and concerned”.
“As a matter of urgency, NFUS is investigating whether there is any
intention to consult Scottish producers and Scottish Government on the
implementation of these measures,” he said.
“The GCA and the majority of measures outlined in the package are issues that are reserved to the UK Government and will impact producers operating in the UK as a whole.
“The implementation of any such measures must therefore be developed on a framework basis with all four governments of the UK having input, so that there is no distortion within the UK single market.”
Mr McCornick added that while the proposal to introduce compulsory
contracts in the dairy sector was well intentioned, it would require much further development to give it necessary clout.
“All milk producers already have contracts with their suppliers, but the nuance is what is within those contracts,” he said.
“There is acknowledgement that the primary sector is the weakest link
in the food chain – not only does this not work for farmers, but it is also
“Contracts should instil fairness, collaboration and transparency right up and down the supply chain.”
Mr McCornick described the decision not to extend the remit of the GCA as a missed opportunity.