Scotland’s first Dairy Producer Organisation “first step to save the Dairy Industry” says MEP

Alyn Smith MEP has thrown his support behind Scotland’s first Dairy Producer Organisation, hailing it as a vital first step in saving Scotland’s dairy industry.

Members of the Milk Supply Association (MSA) are in the process of registering with the Rural Payments Agency to form the first EU Dairy Producer Organisation (DPO) in Scotland. Following the 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, DPOs have been encouraged across Europe and can negotiate collectively for contract terms, including price, and access markets unavailable to individual producers.

Alyn, Scotland’s sole voice on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said:

“This is the best agriculture news I’ve heard in a good while!

“The EU Milk Package states that Member States must recognise Producer Organisations for the planning of production and coordination of supply. Formed by producers, a Producer Organisation can optimise production costs, stabilise producer prices, and respond faster to changes in the market. For example, Fresh Growers Ltd brought Chantenay carrots back to the UK and now supplies over 90% of the domestic Chantenay market.”

“Farmers have traditionally eschewed collective action but attitudes have to change in this world of the modern supply chain and the retail juggernauts.

“I hope to see more DPOs popping up all over Scotland to counter the imbalance of power in the food supply chain, and I will do everything I can to support them in the European Parliament and at home.”

Rory Christie, MSA Chair, added:

“The formation of a Producer Organisation was the logical next step for the MSA. We also hope that the move to forming a DPO, and its recognition by Lactalis, demonstrates a new, alternative way of collaborating in the dairy sector which will add value for both retailers and consumers and deliver new opportunities for the creamery and back on the farm.”

James Graham, Chief Executive of SAOS, concluded: 

“Dairy POs were introduced to improve both transparency and efficiency in the supply chain. Dairy farmers and milk processors are entirely inter-dependent and the formation of a PO enables a properly functioning interface amongst them.”