LOCAL farmers will be boosted by a special parliamentary inquiry into the state of the dairy industry in Wales.
Chaired by Monmouth MP David Davies, the Welsh Affairs Committee has announced a one-off evidence session as a follow-up to its 2013 report on the Voluntary Code of Practice in the dairy sector.
There have been a number of developments since the committee last examined this issue, including a major fall in milk prices, a Russian ban on dairy imports from the EU, and delays to payments for some farmers.
Set to be held on 3rd March 2015, the session will hear from Farming Minister George Eustice MP. Representatives from NFU Cymru, the Farmers’ Union of Wales, and Farmers for Action are also due to give evidence.
The committee will investigate the challenges particular to Welsh dairy farmers, the competitiveness of Welsh dairy farms in comparison to farms in other Europe countries and worldwide, and the support Welsh dairy farmers have received from the Welsh Government, UK Government and the EU.
It will also look at the effect of changes to the Basic Payment Scheme and the end of EU milk quotas in 2015, as well as the impact of the Voluntary Code of Practice.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee recently published its report on dairy prices, which concluded that dairy farmers need greater protection from price volatility. The Welsh Affairs Committee will consider these conclusions and recommendations and how they apply to Wales, together with the relationship between Welsh dairy farmers and major milk processors and purchasers.
“The sharp fall in milk prices has had a huge impact on dairy farmers here in Monmouthshire,” said Mr Davies.
“Although we are unable to conduct a full inquiry before the general election, we all as committee members thought it was vitally important to find out what lies behind this and what can be done.”
The evidence session can be watched live on the Parliament website at www.parliamentlive.tv