Agriculture leaders gather over Brexit
A RANGE of stakeholders from across Scottish agriculture have met to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The meeting, held on December 20 at Ingliston near Edinburgh was the first of many regular discussions which will take place into 2017, and saw Scottish industry stakeholders share their mutual concerns and priorities for Brexit negotiations.
At the meeting, the broad, overarching issues of market access, future agricultural support and movement of labour were discussed – with the group in agreement that all in the Scottish agricultural industry should come together to strengthen the following message to the UK and Scottish governments.
Negotiators must understand the impact of various trade arrangements on the different parts of the agricultural sector, to ensure a favourable outcome for all. A bottom line is that the Scottish agricultural industry’s access to European and global markets must not be compromised, and nor should any future trade deal leave the UK exposed to imports produced at a level lower than the UK’s exacting standards.
A solution must be found which allows industry to recruit and retain both skilled and non-skilled labour from outside of the UK for permanent and seasonal posts.
There is concern about market instability and fluctuations in the years immediately following the UK’s exit from the EU, which is why the mechanism and structure of agricultural support will be so important.
There will be an ongoing need for agricultural support. It is vital that there is a policy and budget fit to the needs of Scottish agriculture, which can be tailored to our unique farming, crofting and land management practices.