Response to: NFU writes to the Secretary of State on organics

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The NFU has now had a response from the secretary of state, following the letter below being sent.

Within the response the DEFRA state they recognise the concerns of organic growers and the importance of certification bodies needing EU equivalence in order to export, which provides significant value to the sector. 

However DEFRA have stated that the EU have confirmed that cannot review any application for equivalence until after the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country.

The NFU will continue to engage with DEFRA and the EU Commission to highlight producers concerns and the importance of resolving this issue.

The NFU has written to the Secretary of State asking for the interests of organic farmers, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

This week the NFU has written to Defra Secretary of state Theresa Villiers, as we did previously with Michael Gove, calling for the interests of organic farmers, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

The NFU has outlined grave concerns with the current situation that if the UK exits the EU without a deal in place, the EU will no longer recognise UK organic certification bodies as equivalent under European organic regulation.

This is not acceptable and places organic producers in a vulnerable position.The situation as it stands would be catastrophic for the organic sector, which is worth £2.3bn (SA, 2018), with around 9% of organic sales being exported and the majority going to the EU. We have urged Ms Villiers to intervene to help to resolve this issue. 

The UK has been an integral part of EU regulatory framework, and has been 100% compliant with EU organic regulations for many years, which will still be the case on the day the UK exits the EU. Defra is currently classified as a competent authority compliant with EU organic standards, having recently been audited by the EU with no issues arising. Therefore, we see no obstacles that should prevent the Commission from continuing to recognise Defra and our UK organic control bodies post-Brexit.

The NFU will continue to engage with both Defra and the EU commission, to highlight these concerns and need for action, it is crucial we avoid these issues which have the potential to burden the organic sector.

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Last edited on: 22:01:2020

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