NI processors pull out all the stops

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World Milk Day (June 1st) saw a number of Northern Ireland’s leading dairy processors put their best foot forward at SIAL Shanghai, now regarded as one of the world’s most significant food events. Their presence in China had been coordinated by the Dairy Council of Northern Ireland (DCNI).

The exhibition gave those companies in attendance the opportunity to showcase their products to the Chinese market, highlighting both the traceability and transparency of the whole supply chain that delivers high quality dairy products.

DCNI chief executive Mike Johnston commented: “Following the successful event in China, this World Milk Day we want to celebrate the commitment of our local dairy farmers and we hope that local consumers will join us in celebrating the fantastic job that they do which is increasingly being acknowledged world–wide.

“Milk from Northern Ireland dairy herds is of the highest standard and is widely recognised as being amongst the best in the world in terms of quality. Buyers at the exhibition were focused on quality, and were impressed by the monitoring and auditing by Government agencies, providing confidence and trust in NI dairy products.

“They also heard first hand how a comprehensive programme of inspections, audits and testing is carried out to verify industry compliance of all aspects of production and processing.”

According to Johnston, global demand for milk and dairy products is continuing to increase, with buyers and consumers around the world valuing the nutrition that dairy products provide. With its ability to grow grass and produce milk, Northern Ireland is well placed to help meet the growing demand for high quality dairy products.

Meanwhile, Europe’s farming and food leaders highlighted World Milk Day with the confirmation that global dairy prices are strengthening once more.

Thierry Roquefeuil, Chairman of Copa and Cogeca’s Milk Working Party, said: “With over 50% of dairy farms located in less favoured areas, the dairy sector is vital for growth and jobs in rural areas where often no other type of employment can exist. Packed with calcium and bone-building nutrients, milk is also a crucial part of a consumers diet. The more positive situation on the dairy markets is welcome news.”

Outlining the market situation, he insisted that EU butter prices are favourable, at over 20% above levels reported last year, due to positive consumption trends.

“The market situation for skimmed milk powder remains quite fragile with prices at around 20% less than levels seen last year, but they are starting to pick up. This is partly as a result of lower production volumes than expected”, Roquefeuil explained.

He added: “The EU Commission is also making sure that the large quantities of skimmed milk powder in public intervention are being put back on the market gradually, to avoid creating a crisis situation.”