It’s about transport

Late last week, both the US and the UK announced dairy assistance schemes. In the UK, Dairy UK and the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) are working together to bring the industry together to identify spare processing capacity, how to stimulate demand and how production could be temporarily reduced. It is important, as the organisations point out – the dairy sector is the UK’s largest farming sector, with milk accounting for 16.85% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2018. Of this, approximately 50% of UK dairy sector output is fresh milk and as such accounts for a significant amount of UK processing capacity.

So, plenty of milk to move about. In the US, the US Department of Agriculture is not only looking at US$16 billion (€14.5bn) in payments to producers and $3 billion (€2.7bn) for food purchases, including at least $100 million per month in US government purchases of a wide array of dairy products, it is also working to streamline the process and forge partnerships with the private and non-profit sectors to incorporate underutilised foodservice infrastructure, such as transportation and refrigerated storage, to quickly and efficiently get food to Americans in need.

Basically, the demand is still there, but the supply lines have been disrupted. As everyone since Napoleon knows, an army travels on its stomach. This is kind of the pandemic version of the butter and WMP mountains for a lot of countries.

It is good that these things are being done, and on a personal note, one of my fellow gardeners told me she went and bought a £15 block of cheddar from Borough Market recently, because what else is she spending her money on? With government and industry help, more consumers can have more cheese to cheer them up. Trust me, snacking is on the increase in many households, in between the zoom exercise sessions.

Stay safe all.

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