01 Nov 2017 --- World political and agricultural leaders were told that dairy is committed to playing a vital dual role in feeding the world with nutritious foods – and protecting the environment. Speaking at the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit in Belfast, earlier this week, Dr. Judith Bryans, President of the IDF, said the global dairy community is one billion people strong and is currently feeding 6 billion consumers.
Dr. Bryans said that 20 dairy producing countries are now signed up to a global initiative called the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam which makes a commitment to meeting the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.
Dr. Bryans also said that dairy producing countries believe in creating a “healthier planet,” addressing inequality and lifting people out of poverty. “We believe in dairy. We have a strong story to tell in terms of nutrition and also the progress we are making environmentally. No sector is perfect and there is always room for improvement but we have a vision, we have our goals and we will spare no effort in achieving them.”
Dr. Bryans was addressing a World Leaders' Forum which included Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and Dr. Ren Wang assistant director general of UN's Food and Agricultural Organization.
Gove told the Summit that the UK Government is committed to supporting the dairy industry.
He said that during Brexit negotiations, the UK Government wants to ensure that supply lines are solid, no barriers to trade are erected and labor can be accessed where it is needed. “This will be at the forefront of our minds,” said Gove.
Commissioner Hogan said the issue of free movement of people was “a difficult issue for the UK and for the EU for different reasons, and will require negotiations.” Hogan told the Summit that EU agri exports continued to grow even though the sector was still adjusting to the post-quota environment. He said there is a need for an ongoing commitment to sustainability “from farm to fork.”
Wang told the Summit that the commitment of the dairy sector to the UN’s 2030 sustainability goals was welcome, and what is now needed is for national frameworks to be developed which set out objectives and performance indicators.
Arla calls for early publication of a new UK agriculture policy At the IDF World Dairy Summit, Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director of Arla Foods UK spoke on the challenges posed by Brexit to the UK dairy industry. In a speech given to the global dairy community, Pietrangeli said: “The farmers that own Arla and the dairy industry as a whole need to know urgently what the government plans look like for the future of food and farming. That means the early publication of a new agriculture policy next year. Any delays will be detrimental to our industry due to our long-term planning cycles.”
Pietrangeli suggested that the post-Brexit trade deal is likely to be a complex part of the negotiation, noting that the two-year status quo to avoid a cliff edge is reassuring but it’s not quite enough to plan well.
Speaking on the scenario of a no deal or a default to World Trade Organization tariffs Pietrangeli said: “If we had a no deal and there is no transitional agreement in place, that would have potentially much bigger implications for the dairy industry and, ultimately, UK consumers. It would likely lead to a WTO default position where dairy tariffs are high in a low margin industry.”
“The speech follows Dairy UK’s recent white paper which laid out the need to protect the dairy industry in the Brexit negotiations.”
Pietrangeli echoed this concern and laid out the economic impact of Arla Foods in the UK – a farmer-owned cooperative with around 2,500 British members. “One in four UK dairy farmers own Arla. They contribute £820m to the UK economy, with Arla’s total economic footprint in the UK totaling £6bn. The contribution made by our business and farmer-owners across Europe to the UK economy would come under severe pressure if Brexit negotiations lead to significant restrictions on free trade and quotas.”
In his closing remarks, Pietrangeli called on the UK Government to ensure that British agriculture has a prosperous future saying: “Give the industry the time it needs to prepare and grow even stronger. Give us the assurance that we can see tangible benefits from the divorce, both in the short and long term. Enable us to continue to build and invest in our UK business and grow for the benefit of our farmer-owners, colleagues and business partners. And give us a voice – talk to Arla Farmers and partner with us to provide the solutions.”
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