Westminster’s environment, food and rural affairs committee’s decision to examine the background and implications of Dairy Farmers of Britain’s (DFB) collapse was described today as a significant move towards answering Welsh dairy producers’ concerns.
“Many questions need answering following DFB’s demise which continues to have a devastating impact for hundreds of affected farmers and former employees of the cooperative,” said FUW milk committee chairman Eifion Huws.
“We therefore welcome this inquiry and plan to participate to clearly express our members’ numerous concerns about DFB’s demise.”
The committee will consider:
- the impact of DFB’s collapse on dairy farmers and the industry;
- the governance and accountability structures of DFB;
- Defra’s response to DFB’s collapse; and
- the causes and lessons to be learned from the collapse.
The committee has invited written submissions from interested parties by Monday August 31 and will accept further submissions after a receivers’ meeting on September 7. A programme of oral evidence will be announced in due course.
Anglesey farmer Mr Huws was a member of an FUW delegation that demanded such an inquiry during meetings with Defra minister Jim Fitzpatrick and members of all political parties.
Speaking after a meeting at the Royal Welsh show with Clwyd West MP David Jones to discuss the matter, Mr Huws added: “DFB’s failure created massive financial damage for farmers and employees throughout Wales and beyond with 1,800 farmers seriously affected.
“There is also grave concern that DFB’s receivers may still pursue some producers who had effectively underwritten the cooperative.
“We hope the inquiry will bring much needed clarity in terms of the events that led up to this catastrophic collapse.”
Mr Jones, whose constituency was one of the worst hit by the collapse, said: “A large number of questions arise as a consequence of the collapse of DFB and I am very pleased that the EFRA Select Committee has announced this important inquiry.”