Brexit must not leave British farmers at a disadvantage

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Speaking in the opening political session, Mr Raymond said that government must take into account that European farmers will continue to receive financial support from the EU and that the UK agricultural and horticultural industry must remain competitive at home and abroad.

He said: “Brexit presents farming with a golden opportunity. We need policies that enable us to produce food safely and in a way that protects and enhances the environment. We have the chance to shape them and create bespoke agricultural policy.

“Between now and the General Election, the NFU will ensure that all parties fully understand and engage with the food and farming community on the issues facing the sector, both now and post-Brexit.

“It is vital that candidates recognise the enormous contribution that agriculture makes. For every £1 invested, farming delivers £7.40 back to this country, and they must back British farming.”

The NFU has set out five key policy challenges for prospective parliamentary candidates to adopt to Back British Farming ahead of the General Election, including making Brexit a success, investing for growth and safeguarding secure supply chains.

“During the negotiations over a new framework for UK’s trading relations, we are calling on the government to adopt an approach that will ensure stability and continuity,” added Mr Raymond.

“This includes continued access to the EU single market, unfettered by tariffs or non-tariff barriers.

“We cannot operate in isolation. Growers rely on imported goods and inputs, particularly seed, rootstock and machinery to name a few. They have business interests in other parts of Europe and across the world and they need access to other markets for their products.

“As it stands, the NFU and its members are rightly very concerned about the present lack of clarity on the government’s approach to agriculture post-Brexit.”

The NFU has repeatedly called on the government to ensure that the supply chain has access to a competent and reliable workforce and endorsed an Efra select committee report which warned that a labour crisis could be on the cards if urgent measures are not taken to fill gaps in the labour supply.

Mr Raymond said: “This report will provide some much needed reassurance to the farmers and growers who are not only nervous about how they will access the labour they need in future, but also those who are putting off investments on their farms.”