By Debbie James

Goat milk producers supplying Abergavenny Fine Foods are to lose their contracts in April.

The company has been dealing with a milk oversupply situation since a fire destroyed its production facilities in 2015; it has now given notice to four of its 15 farmers that their contracts will terminate in April.

Although sales are strong and efforts had been made to cap milk production, the company said it is no longer able to manage the oversupply.

“We have, therefore, had to take the very difficult decision to reduce our liquid milk supplier base, ensuring that we continue to support our remaining suppliers in maximising milk production and working with them to meet our co-ordinated projected growth plans,’’ the company said in a statement.

“The affected suppliers have been give notice in accordance with their contractual terms and Abergavenny have committed to supporting them where possible through this difficult period.

“As a family owned and run business, Abergavenny fully understand the implications of this decision on its supplier base and it was a decision that the board deliberated at length.”

In another blow to the goat milk sector, a further nine producers have been given 12-months notice by Arla because the processor is withdrawing from the goat milk business in the UK.

The Milking Goat Association (MGA) is concerned that expansion has been encouraged in goat milk production in the last two years.

Sam Kelly of the MGA said although some producers may be able to process their own milk, no buyers in the immediate area were in a position to take on the suppliers under notice.

“The MGA wishes to repeat its plea to encourage existing goats’ milk suppliers to engage closely with their milk buyers, to find out what the buyers want,’’ he said.