MSP urges Scottish government backing for Aberdeenshire dairy farmers

Mr Chapman urged SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to help protect the bulk of the dairy industry north of Aberdeen.
Mr Chapman urged SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to help protect the bulk of the dairy industry north of Aberdeen.

North East MSP Peter Chapman has urged the First Minister to back Aberdeenshire dairy farms affected by contractual calamity.

Last week, milk giant Muller announced it will end its supply deal with 14 local farms after a one-year period.

At Holyrood, Mr Chapman urged SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to help protect “the bulk of the dairy industry north of Aberdeen.”

The Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for the rural economy said: “Is the First Minister aware of the serious situation facing 14 dairy farmers in Aberdeenshire?

“These 14, which comprise the bulk of the dairy industry north of Aberdeen, have been told by Muller that they have one year to find a new buyer, after which their contracts will cease.

“There is no obvious processor to take up these contracts. Are there any plans to help these farmers?”

Ms Sturgeon said she would involve her cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing in approaching a solution for the farmers.

She added: “We will do everything we can to give assistance to these farmers, I can well understand the anxiety of these farmers in this development.”

In September, Muller announced the closure of its Aberdeen depot with the potential loss of 45 jobs.

Following First Minister’s Questions, Mr Chapman said: “Muller’s decision is a hammer blow to the North East dairy industry, especially so soon after the company’s decision to shut its Aberdeen operation.

“After a £10m fund was magically found overnight to help crofters by Fergus Ewing, I expect him to pull out all the stops to back our industry.”