“In the wake of a momentous event in UK modern history, more than ever before do we need to ensure that the UK dairy industry is market led and innovative, that it is internationally competitive and best in class and most important of all, that it is open for business wherever that business takes us,” Dobbin said.
He said that Government and other key stakeholders need to share and support Dairy UK’s vision.
UK dairy ‘open for business’
Dobbin added that promotion of UK dairy products is essential, and stated that stimulating demand and growing market share in the UK and abroad would be keys to growth.
“If we are going to go it alone and successfully compete in the global market, then we need a level playing field,” he said.
“We will tell the world that the UK dairy industry is very much open for business, that it is ready and willing to play its part in building a strong British economy and most important of all, that it is committed to creating a successful future for all our farmers, employees and all of us in this outstanding industry.”
Measures for farmers
Farming Minister George Eustice said that the government was pursuing measures to help dairy farmers deal with ongoing price volatility, including backing a dairy futures market and extending tax averaging, so they are well placed to take advantage of the growing global demand for dairy produce.
“Following Friday’s vote to leave the EU, we are now preparing to negotiate our exit. As the PM has made clear, there will be no immediate changes - until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming and our environment remain in place,” Eustice said.
The annual dinner followed the annual Dairy UK seminar earlier in the day, the theme of which was – ‘Going Global: Exports and Dairy’s Future.’
Exports crucial for growth
Dairy UK chief executive Dr Judith Bryans said that exports are a crucial part of growing and strengthening the dairy industry.
“The events of the last few days are bound to have a profound impact on our industry and we must ensure we take all the right steps to make our sector more resilient, competitive and profitable.
“Other dairy exporting countries have followed successful paths and set interesting examples in terms of industry-government cooperation to foster growth and develop exports. We can learn from these experiences and ensure that the UK has efficient and cost-effective systems that support export growth while preserving consumer confidence in the safety and quality of UK dairy products.”
At the seminar, UK and global dairy industry experts discussed how to make current export systems more efficient and cost-effective.
‘Build sustainable routes’
Will Armitage of Defra’s Great British Food Unit outlined how the Government can support the industry to help facilitate dairy exports.
Drawing on the example of Ireland, John Jordan, chief executive officer of Ornua Foods Europe, said that an effective export strategy must be deliberate – it requires focus, investment and commitment.
“It is vital to build sustainable routes and develop a strong understanding of both the supply chain and the value chain,” Jordan said.