The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo), the largest UK organic dairy co-operative and the second largest dedicated organic milk pool in the world, is ‘optimistic’ about the direction of trade negotiations following comments made by Michael Gove at the Royal Welsh Show last week.
OMSCo’s chairman, Nicholas Saphir, made the remark following a statement from the Secretary of State, in which he indicated that a free trade deal with Europe is in everyone’s interests.
“A comprehensive free trade deal with Europe is vital for UK agriculture, particularly the livestock and dairy industry,” says Nicholas. “However, it must not be at the expense of global opportunities that would flow from ensuring market access for UK products in other markets.”
As agriculture is increasingly made to look to the market for its returns, Nicholas stresses that the UK industry must address the fact that our agricultural exports in many sectors lag behind those of the main competitors overseas.
“There is no fundamental reason as to why that should be the case,” he adds. “UK farmers are as innovative as any in producing high-quality farm produce to meet growing global markets.
“However, innovation and added-value, rather than commodity, markets must be the way forward.”
Not only does OMSCo supply the majority of the UK’s organic dairy processing needs, but they are now the leading exporter of organic dairy products such as cheese, powders, whey and specialist infant formula ingredients, made to a number of global organic certification standards.
“It is no accident that in eight years OMSCo has developed the only European organic cheese that meets USDA organic equivalence standards, as well as supplying organic dairy ingredients to the fast-growing infant formula market in Asia.
“As we focus on Brexit and maintaining relationships and trade agreements in Europe, let us not forget the fast-growing global opportunities and the need to ensure that they remain open through recognition of standards and hard won existing ‘equivalence’ agreements.”