Arla calls for early publication of a new UK agriculture policy at IDF World Dairy Summit
At the IDF World Dairy Summit taking place in Belfast this week, Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director of Arla Foods UK has spoken on the opportunities and challenges posed by Brexit to the UK dairy industry.
In a speech given today to the global dairy community Pietrangeli said. “The farmers that own Arla and the dairy industry as a whole need to know urgently what the government plans look like for the future of food and farming. That means the early publication of a new agriculture policy next year. Any delays will be detrimental to our industry due our long term planning cycles.”
Pietrangeli suggested that the post-Brexit trade deal is likely to be a complex part of the negotiation, noting that the two year status quo to avoid a cliff edge is reassuring but it’s not quite enough to plan well.
Speaking on the scenario of a no deal or a default to World Trade Organisation tariffs Pietrangeli said, “If we had a no deal and there is no transitional agreement in place, that would have potentially much bigger implications for the dairy industry and, ultimately, UK consumers. It would likely lead to a WTO default position where dairy tariffs are high in a low margin industry.
The speech follows Dairy UK’s recent white paperwhich laid out the need to protect the dairy industry in the Brexit negotiations.
Pietrangeli echoed this concern and laid out the economic impact of Arla Foods in the UK – a farmer owned cooperative with around 2,500 British members. “One in four UK dairy farmers own Arla. They contribute £820m to the UK economy, with Arla’s total economic footprint in the UK totalling £6bn. The contribution made by our business and farmer owners across Europe to the UK economy would come under severe pressure if Brexit negotiations lead to significant restrictions on free trade and quotas.”
In his closing remarks Tomas Pietrangeli called on the UK Government to ensure that British agriculture has a prosperous future saying, “Give the industry the time it needs to prepare and grow even stronger. Give us the assurance that we can see tangible benefits from the divorce, both in the short and long term. Enable us to continue to build and invest in our UK businessand grow for the benefit of our farmer owners, colleagues and business partners. And give us a voice – talk to Arla Farmers and partner with us to provide the solutions.”
Arla Foods is a global dairy company and co-operative owned by 11,200 dairy farmers with circa 2,500 of whom are British.
Dating back to 1881, Arla’s purpose is to secure the highest value for its farmers’ milk, while creating opportunities for their growth. With production facilities in 11 countries and sales offices in a further 30, Arla is the world’s fifth largest dairy company and largest supplier of organic dairy products. Arla has a total of more than 18,000 colleagues and its products are sold under the well-known brands Arla®, Lurpak® and Castello® in more than 100 countries.
Arla Foods UK is the largest dairy company in the country and is home to leading dairy brands Anchor®, Arla Cravendale®, and Arla Lactofree® with a turnover of €2.9 billion. The UK is largest market within the Europe Zone, contributing 35% of the zone’s turnover and also comprises 25% of the Group revenue.
As well as being a leading supplier of fresh milk, number one in butter, spreads and cream, Arla is the UK’s largest cheese manufacturer. It has also built the world’s largest fresh milk facility located at Aylesbury that later this year will become the first net zero carbon site of its kind. The UK business has a team of approximately 3,500 colleagues located at its dairies, creameries, distribution centres and head office.