At the start of the year I chaired a debate on food security following the torrid time Cornish dairy farmers in particular are having.
I was pleased to hear of a proposed new scheme to help struggling local daily farmers.
A new EU initiative is being drawn up to see the establishment of a futures markets in dairy products which would reduce the issue of price volatility which UK dairy farmers have to contend with.
This idea has been championed by the South West Region MEP, Julie Girling. It is due to be examined by a new task force set up to look for ways to strengthen the position of UK farmers in the food supply chain. The Agricultural Markets Task Force, established by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, will also look at issues such as market transparency and the legal aspects of farmers acting collectively.
I fully support any initiative aimed at supporting our dairy farmers. They are essential to our local economy and help to ensure our food security. I will be meeting with Julie Girling in the next few weeks and will be seeking assurances that the interests of local farmers will be adequately represented.
The 12-member task force is headed by former Dutch minister and academic Cees Veerman and includes David Dobbin, Group Chief Executive of the UK's United Dairy Farmers. It is due to report in the Autumn.