The National Farmers Union (NFU) has called for “early commitment” by the UK government during the period of “uncertainty” that it believes will follow the country’s vote to leave the European Union.
“The vote to leave the EU will inevitably lead to a period of uncertainty in a number of areas that are of vital importance to Britain’s farmers,” said NFU president, Meurig Raymond.
“The NFU will engage fully and constructively with the British government to construct new arrangements. This needs to happen as soon as possible.
“Our members will rightly want to know the impact on their businesses as a matter of urgency. We understand that the negotiations will take some time to deliver but it is vital that there is early commitment to ensure British farming is not disadvantaged. It is vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive, it is the bedrock of the food industry, which is Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.
The NFU’s post-EU principles for British agriculture are:
- To achieve the best possible access Europe’s markets, which will remain extremely important to Britain’s farmers.
- To get access to markets in the rest of the world, while ensuring we are protected from imports which are produced to lower standards.
- To ensure our farmers and growers can get the necessary supplies of labour, both seasonal and full-time.
- To build a British agricultural policy which is as simple as possible, adapted to our needs and guarantees parity of treatment with European farmers, who will still be our principal competitors. There must be a common framework of a British policy, while allowing a necessary degree of flexibility to devolved governments.
- Regulations and product approvals must be proportionate and based on risk and science.
The union has called an extraordinary meeting of the NFU Council, its governing body, for next Friday, July 1 2016.