This, the group says, would mitigate a growing oversupply of EU dairy produce.
Dairy UK chairman Dr David Dobbin has written to Farming Minister George Eustice to raise concerns about the increasing amount of skimmed milk powder being submitted into intervention.
In his letter, Dobbin said, “Despite depressed returns, the growth in global milk production, especially from Europe including the UK, is still rising and running well ahead of global demand. As a result, stocks of powder, butter and cheese are high and skimmed milk is being intervened across Europe, including the UK.”
Big surplus coming
Dobbin said if the current milk supply production profile is maintained the UK dairy industry is facing a large surplus of milk compared to demand this spring peak.
His letter outlines a range of options on how Government could help ensure a smooth transition on intervention.
It said, “We are asking you to use the lobbying weight of the UK Government with the Commissioner to achieve a smooth transition regarding intervention at this difficult time. This would help avoid further distress at farmer and processor level and would be a positive way in which DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) can help the UK industry.”
In a call to the entire UK dairy industry, Dobbin said, that the entire UK dairy industry has to “up our game” and find domestic and export opportunities to increase demand for British dairy products.
Export strategy important
Dobbin pointed to the Dairy UK export strategy document that was published recently, and also called on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to lend its support to the industry and work together to promote dairy products.
“We’re delighted that they have taken some positive steps towards us and we are looking at how we can work together moving forward. It is time for the dairy industry to invest in developing demand for dairy products through promotion at home and abroad,” Dobbin noted.
The export strategy includes 17 actions and recommendations.
When it was launched, Osborne said, “We welcome Dairy UK’s ambition to enhance the UK dairy industry’s export performance and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve this.”
Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, speaking of the report, added, “Other dairy exporting countries have followed successful paths and set interesting examples in terms of industry-government cooperation to foster growth and develop exports.”
UK increases dairy exports
At 14bn liters of milk output per annum, the UK is the third-largest milk producer in the EU after Germany and France. In 2014, the total output of dairy processing was worth $10.65bn (£7.4bn).
According to trade statistics from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the UK dairy industry has increased its dairy exports outside the EU by 91% by volume over the last five years through to the end of 2014.
During the same period, the industry has increased its volume of exports within the EU by 28%. In 2014, the value of dairy exports totalled $1.89bn (£1.3bn).