The fact that farmers appear to be in the hands of “potentially unsympathetic politicians” is a concern says Yorkshire producer, Chris Roach, commenting after attending the poultry industry Brexit meeting held at NFU headquarters last week.
“Two potential effects of Brexit struck me in particular,” said Mr Roach (pictured above) of Oakland Farms, commenting through a blog on the union’s website.
“First, access to labour could be a real issue in the egg and meat processing sectors of the industry.
“Second, the EU quota system on third country imports, and the tariffs imposed once the annual quota has been reached, currently protect British poultry farmers from unlimited cheap imports.”
The additional fact that farmers appear to be in the hands of potentially unsympathetic politicians is also a concern, he added, commenting that this is likely to impact on the industry, both in terms of the UK’s policy on access to labour and how much access foreign poultry products will be given in commercial trade-offs when, for example, negotiators are trying to get British financial services into countries like Brazil.
“Despite all this, however, there does seem to be one certainty,” he said. “The decision on whether we suffer or thrive in the next decade lies with the person who puts their hand in their pocket or purse every week, namely the customer.
“British agriculture enjoys enormous goodwill from our consumers but in the face of potentially increased availability of cheap imported meat that goodwill will be tested. We must use the next few years to cement that relationship and build on the Red Tractor success of recent years. No doubt it will take time, effort and money, but the choice and rewards are ours.”