NFU is­sues no-deal Brexit warn­ing

Ashbourne News Telegraph - - FARMING -

FARM­ERS have is­sued a stark warn­ing to the Gov­ern­ment that it needs to make de­ci­sions about how it will se­cure the na­tion’s food sup­plies as Brexit looms.

NFU pres­i­dent Minette Bat­ters said that, fewer than 90 days from Brexit, there was still “enor­mous un­cer­tainty” about the fu­ture and how do­mes­tic food pro­duc­tion would fare.

The NFU says Bri­tish agri­cul­ture could face huge dis­rup­tion as a re­sult of not be­ing able to ex­port agri­cul­tural prod­ucts to the EU if its role as an ex­porter has not been reap­proved by Brus­sels by March 29. The lamb in­dus­try could be par­tic­u­larly hit as 31% of its pro­duce was ex­ported in 2017.

In a no-deal, ex­ports to the EU from the UK could face huge tar­iffs, with beef po­ten­tially see­ing a 65% duty, and lamb suf­fer­ing 46%, which could push up costs. Im­ports could also be af­fected, with se­vere de­lays at ports of es­sen­tial items such as vet medicines, fer­tilis­ers, feed and ma­chin­ery parts.

To avoid food price rises, the Gov­ern­ment could lower im­port tar­iffs. This would open the UK to goods that are not pro­duced to the high stan­dards of food safety and an­i­mal wel­fare, the NFU said.

Sheep in Os­mas­ton, by Peter Banks

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