ONE MAJOR STEP CLOSER TO AN AGREEMENT

Caption: Sachida Nand FCDCL CEO.

For over two years FCDCL?s Chief Executive Sachida Nand has worked with the Dairy farmers in finalizing the Milk Purchase Agreement that would define the pricing of raw milk between the dairy co-op and Fiji Dairy Limited.

?Up to this point the farmers have had no idea how the pricing of raw milk was set.? The current prices have been determined by the processor FDL.? The Milk Purchase Agreement was to be a mechanism to determine milk pricing but it has never been finalized, to this day,? said Mr. Sachida.

?Without the agreement the farmers have had to live with low milk prices, and an environment that discourages investment.? said Mr. Nand, and that it was crucial to the sustainability of the industry to have the agreement in place.

And now these efforts are one step closer to fruition.

With the help of the Fiji Government, NZ Aid and the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council there is now funding available ?to get this vital work completed.

?Our belief is that, if we can get it right for the farmers, it will be of major benefit for Fiji.? Farmers will increase their income; increase investment in their farms that will result in increased milk supply.

?An increased milk supply will help go far towards replacing imported dairy products, it will provide increased food security, and with proper supplies, lower the price of milk off the shelf for the consumer,? said Mr. Nand.

He said that there is a need for a collective agreement that not only governs the sale and the purchase of raw milk but also clarifies the main points that will make the document workable.

To do this work NZ Aid has hired Tuia International, top consultants who are leaders in New Zealand?s dairy industry. The funding will be channeled through the Fiji Crop and Livestock Council.

Among the collective experience of the Tuia Group is a former Chief Executive of New Zealand Trade & Enterprise; the Director of International Manufacturing for the Fonterra Co-operative Limited (New Zealand?s largest dairy company); and the General Manager Kiwi Dairy Limited.

This is a very powerful team with vast experience of the Dairy industry and we are confident they will get a good result for all said Mr Nand.

Among the points they will address are:

  • An equitable pricing mechanism.
  • Productivity incentives.
  • Milk Quality standards (Total plate count (TPC), Somatic cell count (SCC), Thermoduric cell count (TH), freezing point and foreign contamination) are all not fully disclosed.
  • Milk grades and milk quality penalties
  • impartiality and independence in the milk testing process
  • Milk collection policies for both – Bulk and Chilling centre farmers.
  • The ownership and operation of centres.
  • The role of and jurisdiction of each party to the agreement.

Mr. Nand said that the final draft should be ready by the mid of November and that he anticipated negotiations to follow shortly thereafter.

? I am very aware that this is a significant step in the right direction, but it will take a continued commitment to see it through to a final agreement.?

PACIFIC REACH