MP calls for dairy farmers to focus on emerging markets
Exporting dairy products to emerging markets could be the key to the securing the future of the British dairy industry, according to farmer-turned-Conservative MP, Neil Parish.
Parish has warned that the under-pressure sector could continue to struggle unless it exports considerably more products to emerging markets and takes advantage of the developing world middle-class and their aspirational appetites.
He has also called on the government to do more to help promote British dairy products to countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and China – or British farmers risk behind left behind by their counterparts on the continent.
In his blog, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton wrote: "Dairy products from France, Denmark and the Netherlands can be found to supermarkets from Ankara to Beijing whilst British produce, some of the finest in the world and produced to the highest animal welfare standards, is nowhere to be seen."
The UK currently has a £1.2m trade deficit in dairy and of the 13,544m litres of raw milk produced in this country in 2011, only 403m was exported.
Parish believes this must change and that China, with its population of 1.4 billion people, is a "huge market that the UK must access".
"It is not until we see the bigger picture in the dairy industry that our dairy farmers will flourish. The government has been successful in securing a multi-million pound deal with China to export breeding pigs.
"It is this sort of support that the government must give to the dairy industry."
The MP is holding a Westminster Hall Debate on the dairy industry on 13 September 2012.