Code of conduct for UK dairy supply chain announced

A new statutory Code of Conduct will be developed for the dairy sector to increase fairness in the supply chain and help farmers become more competitive, Farming minister Victoria Prentis announced today (Wednesday 3 February).

Speaking at Dairy-Tech Online, Ms Prentis said the Government, working in close collaboration with the Devolved Administrations, will develop a new statutory Code of Conduct, using section 29 of the Agriculture Act 2020. This is in response to last year’s consultation seeking views from dairy farmers and processors across the UK about how contracts and relationships could be improved.

The new statutory code will seek to provide a guiding framework, establishing minimum standards but also providing businesses with the flexibility to adapt contracts to their individual circumstances.

Prentis said further engagement with industry will be necessary to develop the specific standards: “It is only right any contracts drawn up between farmers and processors deliver fair conditions across the board, for an industry that works hard year-round to provide the dairy products for which we are world-renowned.

“This new Code of Conduct will crack down on unfair practices within the supply chain, supporting the dairy sector and ensuring that our dairy farmers remain competitive as they look to the future.”

RABDF chairman Peter Alvis added: “Increasing fairness in the dairy supply chain is paramount. The statutory Code of Conduct is a positive and necessary step in ensuring farmers can sign contracts that are fair and provide them with much needed stability.”

Evidence from industry consultations have suggested unfairness in the supply chain has sometimes been caused by milk buyers having the power to set and modify the terms of a contract, often with little notification. This leads to uncertainty and ambiguity that can be unfair to dairy farming businesses.

Dairy-Tech Online is an online event running on weekdays from 3-17 February. To view the programme of activity and to register for free, visit:

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