In the Assembly last week World School Milk Day was celebrated with the Members all receiving a pint of Welsh milk as a symbol of the importance of the Welsh dairy industry. One of those to receive the milk – from a local dairy – was Arfon AM for Plaid Cymru, Sian Gwenllian.
“At the moment school children receive free milk at school, which is so important for their health,” said Siân Gwenllian, “and is in turn vital for the health of the dairy industry here in Wales, which plays such a major role in our rural economy. World School Milk Day is a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to the importance of milk for us all, as it gives every child in Wales an excellent start in life, helping them grow into healthy adults.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Secretary launched the day in Wales [Wed, 26 Sept] by delivering a pint of Welsh milk from Cowbridge farmer Rhys Lougher of Tŷ Tanglwyst dairy to every Assembly Member.
Mr Gruffydd said: “Maintaining free school milk for primary school pupils is vital both for youngsters’ health and the Welsh dairy industry. World School Milk Day is an international campaign to emphasise the importance of milk for growing youngsters. Children require lots of nutrients and energy from foods to ensure adequate growth and development, and a carton of semi-skimmed milk can provide 42% of 7-10 year olds recommended daily intake for calcium and 24% of their recommended protein intake.
“It’s also important for the dairy industry in Wales that we promote Welsh produce in our schools and strengthen that connection between farmers and the consumers of the future.
“I will be delivering the milk provided by the National Farmers’ Union in Wales to every Assembly Member in the building to remind all our politicians of the importance of good nutrition for our children and also for the dairy industry.”
Mr Gruffydd also said that free school milk, currently provided free to Foundation Phase children and at a subsidised rate for other primary school children, is currently funded in part by the EU and will need to be maintained post-Brexit.
One of the Members to receive a pint of milk from Llyr Gruffydd is Siân Gwenllian, AM for Arfon, and she said:
“I was very pleased to receive a drink of Welsh milk first thing in the morning, delivered by Llyr but from Tŷ Tanglwyst dairy – my constituency is in a rural area where many of my constituents are farmers and many of the communities I represent depend on the farming industry which has dairy at its heart. Receiving the pint of milk was an effective way of reminding us of the hard work that goes on quietly in our communities with our farmers producing dairy food and drink that we take entirely for granted. With the threat of Brexit looming, I’m painfully aware of the danger to our farmers who we depend on so much for our food, and it was a timely reminder of that this morning when I received the milk.”
NFU Cymru Milk Board Chairman Gareth Richards said: “I’d like to thank Llyr Gruffydd for arranging this event and for taking the time to highlight to his AM colleagues how important milk and other dairy products are to children’s development. I do hope they enjoyed starting their day with a pint of fresh, Welsh milk. I’d also like to thank fellow dairy farmer and NFU Cymru member Rhys Lougher from Tŷ Tanglwyst Dairy for supplying the milk.
“World School Milk Day was the perfect opportunity to highlight its importance and the vital role it has in helping children maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Drinking milk at school-age is critical to tackle rising obesity levels, dehydration and young people’s deficiencies in important nutrients like iodine and calcium.
“At NFU Cymru we are committed to ensuring that milk and other dairy products remain accessible and affordable to schools to help promote a healthy, balanced diet, support the Welsh dairy industry, and develop consumption trends for the future.”