Union Views Benefits of Dutch Dairy Chain

NFU Scotland believes lessons could be learnt from the Dutch dairy sector to help deliver a more stable, fairer dairy supply chain in the UK.

Members of the Union’s Milk Committee are participating in a three-day study trip to the Netherlands (Tuesday, 28 September to Thursday, 30 September) that takes in dairy farms, food processing and dairy product innovation.  The Scottish delegation has also met with staff and representatives of the Dutch farming union, LTO.

Speaking from the Netherlands, NFU Scotland’s Milk Policy Manager George Jamieson said:

“It is clear from the outset that the Dutch dairy industry, including their producers, appears to have benefited from greater consolidation and co-operation within its dairy supply chain.   The benefits we have seen include a greater commitment and investment in dairy technology, product innovation and adding value to dairy products where part of the value actually goes back to those producing the milk.

“The outcome is that the strong world and European market for milk and dairy products seems to be working for Dutch dairy farmers with farmgate prices rising by as much as 50 per cent in the past year.   Compare that with the UK where the continued market strength for dairy products has failed to generate any real benefits for dairy farmers and our farmgate prices have risen by a paltry 8 per cent.

“Seeing how the Dutch system works has only strengthened our resolve to improve the way the dairy supply chain in the UK operates.  Europe’s own High Level Working Group on dairy has identified how it would improve the working of the supply chain and it was useful to hear how Dutch producers viewed the European approach.

“For our part, the NFUS milk committee is developing strategies to improve the co-operation and co-ordination of dairy farmers and their representative groups.   The objective is to play a more effective, constructive part in the supply chain for the benefit of not only producers, but also the long-term security of the dairy industry.”  

Notes to Editors

The NFU Scotland Milk Committee Study Trip itinerary includes the following:

Tuesday 28 September

Visit to Netherlands Food Valley  - The Food Valley area is the home of a large number of food multinationals.   Within the Food Valley, about 15,000 professionals are active in food-related sciences and technological development. Far more are involved in the manufacturing of food products. Food Valley, with the city of Wageningen as its centre, forms a dynamic heart of knowledge for the international food industry.   What makes the Food Valley area unique is the intensive collaboration between food companies, research institutes and the Wageningen University and Research Centre with the objective to develop innovations that form the basis for new food products.

Presentation on Tailor-made Milk Project - The Tailor-made Milk project (Melk op Maat) explores how the variations in the composition of milk can effectively be used to achieve more added value in the dairy chain.  The project aims to give the dairy industry a better understanding of the relationship between the specific characteristics of a dairy cattle breed and the precise composition of its milk. This insight is then used to determine, for instance, which breed of cow produces the most casein (an important protein in cheese) or the most substances beneficial to human health.

Wednesday 29 September
Farm Visits - The farm visits were organised by the Dutch Farmers Organisation and Scottish delegates were accompanied by Siem Jan Schenk, LTO Dairy Chairman, Ivar  Bisseling LTO Dairy Policy Advisor and Dr Suzzanne Groot LTO Animal Health Policy Advisor.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 135/10

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