Forum must act to tackle dairy industry crisis

UFU president Ian Marshall
UFU president Ian Marshall

The Ulster Farmers Union has called on Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to use the Supply Chain Forum to unite the dairy sector amid concerns that global prices will improve in the near future.

“There is a real need to see this as an industry problem, rather than an issue for farmers alone,” said UFU president, Ian Marshall.

He said there had been some criticism that the supply chain forum had met only once – but that the crisis facing the dairy industry was an opportunity to show that the decision to create the forum was worthwhile.

“There is no magic bullet to solve this crisis – but the industry needs to work together to help farmers survive.

“We need to know more about the market and why markets are not responding. More importantly as an industry we need to develop a strategy that is now, quite literally, about survival for many farming families.

The UFU have been leading the dairy lobby from the outset here, in London and in Brussels. “We have been pressing for higher prices and more support, but realistically the industry has to come up with a plan to help itself,” said Mr Marshall.