Post-Brexit trade greatest concern, NPA tells re-elected EFRA chair

NPA chairman Richard Lister has written to the returning chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee to outline the association’s priorities.

The re-election of Devon MP and former farmer Neil Parish to the influential post was widely welcomed across the farming world.

In his letter, Richard congratulated Mr Parish on his re-election and, at a time of so many changes in Westminster, welcomed the ‘continuity and consistency’ it brings.

He highlighted the importance of the pig sector to the UK economy, pointing out it is worth £1.2 billion at the farm-gate, £5 billion at retail and, considering foodservice and other external sales and export values, over £7.5 billion in total. Our now blossoming export market is worth £400 million a year, he added.

“It is evident that much of this new parliament will be dominated by the UK’s exit from the European Union; we were delighted to have been invited to represent the pig industry’s views to your Committee earlier this year on migrant labour, and we look forward to contributing to the work of the Committee across a range of policy areas,” Richard wrote.

“NPA members have made clear to us that trade relationships once we have exited the European Union are of the greatest concern; in particular retaining the possibility to export to the EU as well as ensuring that we are not importing pig products from other countries that have much lower standards than our own.

“As you are aware, the UK pig sector is unsubsidised, which has allowed our increasingly integrated supply chains to become market focused and driven to deliver what the consumer wants.

“Despite this, our members face a number of ongoing challenges, however, I believe that a UK based agricultural policy provides an excellent opportunity to overcome market volatility and provide incentives for pig producers to invest in their businesses, whilst delivering public goods expected by the taxpayer.”

He concluded by stressing that the NPA looks forward to continuing to work with Mr Parish and the EFRA committee.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.