Friday, December 15, 2017

NFU calls for government farming clarification

March 8, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

NFU Conference 2017. Birmingham ICC. 22/2/2017.

Farm leader Meurig Raymond has warned that the government must clarify its commitment to agriculture for Brexit to be a success for the country’s food and farming industry.

In his opening speech to last month’s NFU conference in Birmingham, Mr Raymond said farmers needed action across three vital areas: the right trade deals, access to a competent and reliable workforce, and a domestic agricultural policy that worked for agriculture.

With the government due to trigger the Article 50 exit process this month for leaving the EU, farmers needed certainty and firm https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/acheter-viagra-sans-ordonnance/ commitments from government if the country was to feel the benefits of a thriving food and farming industry.

British farmers produced the raw ingredients for the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, worth £108 billion, said Mr Raymond. They also provided jobs for 3.9 million people, and had the potential to deliver much more for the country.

Massive impact

“Over the next two years, negotiations will take place which will have a massive impact on farming and Britain’s ability to have a thriving food production system,” said Mr Raymond. “Brexit needs to be successful when we leave the EU.”

NFU members wanted to deliver on a vision shared with government for an increasingly profitable, competitive and sustainable food and farming sector. Britain had a right to expect improved food security and enduring economic growth.

Mr Raymond said: “Put simply, farming contributes to the health and wealth of the British people. We have been clear on what we think are the main ingredients for success.  It is a fairly simple recipe, with three main ingredients.”

First, farmers needed unrestricted access to the EU market. Secondly, they needed continued access to a competent and reliable workforce. Thirdly, they needed a new agricultural policy which helped develop an increasingly productive, progressive and above all profitable farming sector.

New technologies

Mr Raymond said: “It goes without saying, it is important government also ensures there is  a better regulatory framework, a business environment encouraging  food companies  to invest in the UK, rather than overseas, and that farmers have access to new technologies.”

Looking at Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom, who was also on the conference platform, Mr Raymond said the government had been less than clear about its commitment to secure a good Brexit deal for agriculture. “It is time for clarity,” he warned.

The industry was ready and willing to move towards an ambitious new system and a new policy where public investment was focused on farms becoming more profitable, more productive and more progressive.

But with Brexit looming, it was vital that the government should not do anything which would make it difficult for the UK’s own agricultural sector unable to compete with the rest of Europe.  “We need a thriving farming industry,” said Mr Raymond.

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