Welsh dairy farms get av­er­age £1.8k cri­sis aid

North Wales Weekly News - - WRITTEN BY YOU - BY AN­DREW FOR­GRAVE

DAIRY farm­ers in Wales are to col­lect a one-off cri­sis pay­ment from Brus­sels av­er­ag­ing £1,800 each.

The cash is from a £26.2m aid pack­age al­lo­cated to the UK by the EC ear­lier this month.

As ex­pected, Eng­land will get the lion’s share, at £15.5m, with North­ern Ire­land re­ceiv­ing £5.1m, Wales £3.2m and Scot­land £2.3m.

Deputy farm­ing min­is­ter Re­becca Evans said pay­ments in Wales will be based on how much milk farm­ers pro­duced in 201415.

This will give an av­er­age pay­ment of £1,800 per farm.

Mrs Evans said the Welsh Gov­ern­ment is aim­ing to de­liver the cash as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We hope to make this pay­ment quickly and I hope it will of­fer some help with cash flow,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Scot­tish ru­ral af­fairs min­is­ter Richard Lochhead, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment was not con­sulted on its al­lo­ca­tion, leav­ing the FUW to won­der if WalesW l had hd suf­feredff dh the same fate.

Newly elected FUW milk and dairy pro­duce chair­man Rhy­dian Owen said many Welsh dairy pro­duc­ers felt they had been “ripped off” by West­min­is­ter.

“The farm-gate price of milk re­ceived by many Welsh dairy pro­duc­ers is far lower than in other re­gions of the UK main­land,” said Mr Owen.

“A dis­tri­bu­tion which took ac­count of the dis­par­ity in milk price would have seen help go­ing where it is most needed.”

NFU Cymru said the Welsh al­lo­ca­tion was a welcome cash boost for the coun­try’s hard­pressed dairy sec­tor.

ButB iti sai­did more ac­tioni was needed to make a long-term dif­fer­ence.

While AHDB fig­ures showed that av­er­age UK milk prices had fallen 25% in the last year, many First Milk sup­pli­ers had seen their milk price halve in that time, said NFU Cymru Milk Board chair­man Aled Jones

He added: “Given the se­ri­ous cash flow cri­sis on Welsh dairy farms it is im­por­tant now that this EU money is dis­trib­uted as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“Whilst this sup­port will pro­vide some short-term re­lief it does not al­ter the fact that far­m­gate milk price re­mains well be­low the cost of pro­duc­tion, with ih farm­ersf los­ingl i sig­nif­i­canti ifi money on ev­ery litre of milk they pro­duce.”

Re­becca Evans wants to see fur­ther ac­tion taken at EU level to help open new mar­kets for milk pro­duc­ers.

Other mea­sures be­ing pur­sued in­clude more con­sis­tent la­belling of Bri­tish dairy prod­ucts, and more space al­lo­cated to Bri­tish dairy prod­ucts on su­per­mar­ket shelves.

The deputy min­is­ter added: “I also be­lieve we need to kick-start a sig­nif­i­cant pro­gramme of work across the EU to sup­port all of our farm­ers, in­clud­ing the red meat sec­tor, to help the in­dus­try move for­ward.”

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