Agriculture facing critical Brexit challenges, says Lords EU report

A new report by the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, entitled, “Brexit: Agriculture”, has highlighted the “enormous challenges” the sector faces post-Brexit.

The three key issues facing the farming community are one, that 80% of agri-exports go to the EU, secondly that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides vital funding which will be cut off after Brexit with no replacement mechanism currently in place and thirdly that the agri-food sector relies heavily on both permanent and seasonal labour from EU nations.

“Repatriating agricultural policy-making to the UK will also require careful consideration of the needs of the industry, future trade agreements and the devolution settlements,” says the “Brexit: Agriculture” report. “These changes will affect an industry which by its very nature must make long-term business decisions. A transitional period is needed to allow farmers to survive and prosper post-Brexit.”

Commenting on the report, Lord Teverson, who chaired the Sub-Committee up until the dissolution of Parliament, said: “Post-Brexit the UK’s agriculture and food sectors face enormous challenges. Life after the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy will not be easy for the many UK farmers who rely on its financial support.

“But leaving the EU is also an opportunity for the UK, and its constituent nations and regions, to move away from the EU’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies on farming and food. We will be able to really think about what we want to do with agriculture, food and the environment.

“Trade – especially with the EU – is really important for the agri-food sector. It is unlikely that a comprehensive trade deal with the EU will be negotiated before Brexit, so a transitional deal is vital to avoiding a ‘cliff edge’ for farmers. The Government and the devolved administrations will also need to be careful that tailored agricultural policies don’t create non-tariff barriers for UK exports.”

You can read the report in full here.

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