Countryside Online

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Brexit- six months to go

Brexit- six months to go

The B word is becoming more and more problematic as we count down to leaving the EU in March 2019.

The terms of our departure from the EU are still unclear with an increasing possibility of a no-deal being discussed across the media. A no-deal scenario would have a huge impact on British farmers and therefore the food we eat. No-deal would mean an immediate halt to the free and frictionless trade enjoyed currently with our largest trading partner.  Impacts across the wider economy would be felt with this current EU market for British food and non-alcoholic drink valued at £13billion.  NFU President Minette Batters is on the record stating that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for farm businesses, the economy and society at large.

EU UK Exit_49749

In addition, the UK imports 40% of its food needs and while there’s a possibility that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a downward spiral of prices -  in the short term -  as the Government attempts to keep its commitment on food price equilibrium, this could fundamentally lower standards being allowed on imported products. In turn this threatens food, farming and animal welfare in this country and could potentially cause environmental degradation elsewhere.

However, we have an opportunity to shape change.

All of the feedback we receive from you, the public, is that high standards of food production, animal welfare and environmental protection are a fundamental. Our farmers are rightly proud of all they have achieved and of the affordable, quality food they help to put on our plates every day.

Our representatives in government are discussing the future policies that will govern our food and drink as part of the new Agriculture Bill which will make its passage through the Houses of Parliament in the coming weeks.

You can help shape this future; the future of your food.

What you can do:

Email / tweet your MP stating that:

  • Food security is a public good – and home grown food is essential to our national food security
  • We need the expertise of farmers to produce our food and to help protect and enhance our stunning British countryside.
  • Our food standards must be safeguarded. All food imported into the UK must be produced to the same high standards as those required of British producers.
  • Current food trade with the EU is worth £13bn. Continuing free and frictionless trade with the EU is essential to avoid a huge negative impact on the national economy

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Have your say on this

Your comment will be checked by our moderation team and may be used in other NFU publications. Commenting guidelines

  • Posted by: Rwth HuntPosted on: 21/10/2018 13:39:58

    Comment: If farmers can be persuaded not to export animals across the world in appalling conditions and we can enforce transport rules here, it would be a good thing.

    We could grow enough to be self sufficient if we improved payment arrangements in Farmers' Markets. Perhaps one payment section with a ticket system for individual traders. It's having to pay in cash that keeps me away. The biggest problem with Farmers' Markets is that if you grow it you have to take time out to sell it.
  • Posted by: Chris HillPosted on: 21/10/2018 14:20:18

    Comment: I want to see British farming become more successful in producing the nations food. I see no logical reason to export our food abroad and then import near identical food from overseas. Good animal welfare and use of UK materials for crop growing should be a priority. Land currently left idle for years should be brought back into production for grazing or growing. The Government can help by providing suitable financial support, technical help and assistance but farmers need to play their part. Being productive and realistic about what they can achieve with a view to a sustainable future and not being greedy. Supermarkets and food stores can play a major role in keeping costs down by purchasing more locally produced products and avoiding waste from over stocking. Finally the public can support farming by purchasing local items, but if not available, certainly UK produced and farmed foods. We live in a wonderful country that has the ability to grow and produce good quality foods without the need to buy from abroad. TV food shows can help by using more traditional products without adversely affecting the quality of the program or food we eat.

    Fishing and Farming should be given more acknowledgement for the skills and knowledge they have. Young people must be encouraged to join in an occupation that is recognized for the key contribution it makes to everyday live of the nation as a whole.
  • Posted by: Christine HodgsonPosted on: 21/10/2018 18:46:18

    Comment: I do not fully understand the ins & outs of importing & exporting but the fact that we import 40 % of our food seems very high to me.
    Why can't we be more self sufficient and keep all our own meat, cereals, fruit & veg etc? We need to build up the industry that we once had and not have to depend on other countries for products we can produce ourselves.
  • Posted by: Mrs Linda CawthornePosted on: 21/10/2018 18:48:08

    Comment: I think our farmers who work hard and laborious hours to provide us with top quality meat and vegetables should be dealt with fairly and squarely and brexit should be sorted so that they can carry on to do so.
  • Posted by: ValeriePosted on: 21/10/2018 19:26:45

    Comment: I back British Farming as I believe British produce is best
  • Posted by: Lisa WallserPosted on: 22/10/2018 07:30:59

    Comment: farming should be one of the most important issues on the this agenda, none of us can survive w/o food. our farmers should be treated with the utmost respect. & young people should be encouraged to farm.
    We Need Food! We need Farmers!
  • Posted by: shaun thorntonPosted on: 22/10/2018 08:00:44

    Comment: The current model of zeroing tariffs on a hard brexit would destroy our farming community across the board as cheap poorly reared it intensively farmed products hit our country, lowering our standards making it a race to the bottom and the end of so many farming businesses.
    I am proud of our humane and safe standards.
    I know many farming communities voted for brexit but I don't want them harmed in this madness.
  • Posted by: David WoodPosted on: 22/10/2018 12:42:06

    Comment: I think that we could by changing our eating habits provide sufficient food for our own consumption. When supermarkets offer Dutch produce - pears for example when our own `are in season, it really is puzzling. Strawberries and tomatoes from our own farmers instead of imports. The supermarkets have a lot to answer for when they force farmers to accept very low prices for their produce or import because it is cheaper to do so. Buy British every time!
  • Posted by: Azizi cues Ltd Posted on: 22/10/2018 18:49:25

    Comment: Back British farming
  • Posted by: Tim LastPosted on: 25/10/2018 00:04:41

    Comment: Without denying the problems that any kind of "leaving" will surely cause, am I wrong to think that increasing the difficulties in exporting food produced by British farmers taken with equally increased restrictions and delays on imports coming from the EU will tend to increase home market consumption of British produce? That's a good thing isn't it? On the other hand if our country is opened up to world imports with poor standards I would certainly accept that things will be worse rather than better for our own farmers and for the rest of us - but that's what comes with the responsibility of running our own affairs isn't it?
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