Thursday 31 July 2014
The Commerce and Employment Department has today published the Report of the Working Group set up to review the dairy industry. The key objective was to propose a coherent and comprehensive plan for its future development.
The work group's report has formed the basis for the States Report which will take key proposals to the States in the September 2014 Billet, (published on 15 August).
The Review Report looks at all aspects of the partnership between the States, the Island, and dairy farmers which sustains and supports the local milk industry. The Report draws numerous conclusions from the evidence that was presented in a series of meetings with stakeholders and interested and knowledgeable parties during 2013.
Pulling together the many conclusions, the Review Group has proposed a 10 point plan to bring certainty and confidence to the Industry. The emphasis is on greater commercial stimulus for all parts of the industry to adapt for a successful future.
The Review Group has placed weight on the importance of the Guernsey Cattle Breed to the Island and so its plan contains a significant element of protection for the industry, in particular recommending that the control over imports of milk is made as robust as possible with a full revision of the Island's milk legislation.
Import control will maintain a reliable local market for Guernsey milk. The aim if for the iconic local cattle breed to thrive and for the Guernsey Dairy to continue as a viable and vital part of the industry.
The proposals seek to reduce support spending by taxpayers and introduce a simple and commercial approach to setting the retail price of milk, which should work to the consumers' advantage still protecting dairy farms.
Importantly, the vision is for an increasingly strong link between dairy farmers and a more commercial Dairy, at the heart of the industry, working together to ensure that milk production continues to meet the Islands year round needs in terms of quantity and quality.
The question of milk distribution has, in the past, been controversial and so a significant amount of time was spent considering this aspect of the industry. The recommendations in the report envisage a level of continuing protection for milk distribution businesses, but, as with other aspects of the Review, this is balanced by the need to operate in a commercial environment with a strong customer focus.
The Review Report has been circulated to all farms, milk distributors, Dairy staff and States Deputies and is now available on the States of Guernsey website.
Deputy Stewart, Minister and Dairy Industry Review Group Chair commented:
"After a long period of consultation and careful review of the possibilities and proposals, I believe that the Report contains the right balance in its recommendations. This is between giving the necessary protections and stimulus to the Dairy industry so that it can take greater control of its future.
We realise that some suggestions may be viewed as potentially challenging, but we believe the Review report contains a practical and achievable package of measures. It is a comprehensive report that should be read carefully as it contains a great deal of data and information on the industry, its performance, and its future potential. This is an integrated 10 point plan and should be read as such.
It must be taken as a whole in order for the industry to move forward with confidence and for the full benefits to be realised by taxpayers and consumers."
The Report is available here.