Trade policies will help dairy sector compete globally

Michael Oakes

Michael Oakes

NFU Dairy Board chair

First published: 30 December 2022

An image of Michael Oakes speaking at a conference

In his New Year message, NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes highlights the importance of growing dairy exports in 2023, the work of the Dairy Roadmap and the need for financial sustainability. 

I don’t think anyone could have predicted how 2022 has gone for the dairy sector.

We have seen milk prices head towards 50ppl, and costs of production reaching similar levels, with almost hourly changes to input costs.

So, what will 2023 bring for the dairy sector?

I won’t attempt to predict what the markets will do (or how many different Defra Secretary of States we will see) as we know how incredibly volatile these things are at the moment.

However, we do anticipate that in the medium to long-term dairy demand around the world will keep growing, but milk production will not keep up.

“We need trade and regulatory policy to support the dairy industry to help it to compete at a global level”

NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes

Doubling exports over the next decade

This is why we have spent a considerable amount of time in 2022 pushing forward our dairy export strategy, with the ambition to double our dairy exports in the next 10 years.

We need trade and regulatory policy to support our industry to allow it to compete at a global level.

We know that British dairy farmers work hard to produce safe, sustainable and high-quality produce for both our domestic consumers and for emerging export markets around the world.

Building exports takes time, but this work will continue into 2023, and we are pleased to have built a strong rapport with the Department for International Trade during the past year. This will help us work with the wider dairy industry to drive forward and grow dairy exports, while ensuring we do not undermine our domestic production.

Up for the sustainability challenge

Another agenda which will continue at pace over the next year is sustainability.

The pressure from consumers and the supply chain on the dairy sector will continue to grow, and we have to rise to the challenge.

Fortunately, the work of the industrywide Dairy Roadmap helps to put us in a good position to respond to a lot of these questions, demonstrate best practice and prepare for the future.

However, we also need to ensure the financial sustainability of the sector.

2023 should also see a key piece of work to improve dairy contracts move forward into legislation.

To support this work, we are also focusing on farmer collaboration to improve relationships in the supply chain.

There will be more challenges ahead, but the NFU will continue working hard on your behalf to ensure the best future for our dairy farmer members

Your President's New Year message

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query our NFU CallFirst will contact you and, if appropriate, your question will be passed on to one of our policy teams.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.