As we enter 2019, the UK pig sector finds itself in a position it has never been in before, according to NPA chairman Richard Lister, a reference to the uncertainty the nation faces over our post-Brexit future.
“There is so much uncertainty in term of our trading relations – it is a worrying time for everybody,” he said.
The NPA is urging MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit agreement ahead of a critical rescheduled vote in mid-January. The prospects of the UK leaving the EU without a deal increased in December as the Prime Minister failed to gain the necessary parliamentary support for her agreement.
The NPA and NFU have described a no deal as a potential disaster for the industry. Richard highlighted, in particular, indications that while UK exporters could face tariffs on shipments to the EU, the Government is planning to waive import tariffs to keep food prices low.
“That is hugely worrying and would have a devastating impact on the sector. These people that espouse a No Deal Brexit have no comprehension of what that involves. Until Brexit is sorted, there is a huge dark cloud hanging over us – the worst case scenario is horrendous,” he said.
“The tariff on a sow is 45p/kg. When sow slaughterers tell you under a zero tariff regime, they will be able to pay 2p/kg, rather than 60p/kg today, you know you are in trouble.”