Brexit deal met with warm welcome from agriculture community
THE breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations has met with a largely positive reaction from those within the agricultural community.
Speaking after the deal was secured between the UK government and EU to move on to the next stage of negotiations, UFU deputy president, Ivor Ferguson said the it was the start of a long negotiation process.
"We are glad the deal protects our free trade into the rest of the UK, which is our biggest and most profitable market. We warned that anything that would threaten that would be unacceptable. We are committed to free trade on the island of Ireland, and believe the negotiation opens the road for that to be secured."
Mr Ferguson added that they are now more optimistic for future negotiations.
"We are also now more hopeful that a practical deal will be reached to allow us to retain access the EU-27 market – a deal also in the interests of all those in the rest of the EU that supply the UK market with food. This is the start of a process, but it does hold promise.”
The Northern Ireland chapter of Farmers for Action UK also released a statement in which they said there is still work be done to ensure the best deal for farmers in the north.
"Whilst FFA in Northern Ireland would have wished to stay in the EU in the hope of having its flaws in Brussels reformed the position Great Britain and Northern Ireland businesses including farming and food found themselves in up until Friday's announcement was eating up the very soul of their existences with uncertainty."
"Whilst FFA's second preferred option was to stay in the Custom Union and Single Market Regulatory Alignment and Theresa May's statement that there will be no borders, north, south, east or west, will be a good third option until we see how events play out between now and March 2019," the statement read.
"Meanwhile, we expect to see Northern Ireland's politicians stepping up to the plate and getting back into Stormont immediately as there is work to be done including legislation on farm gate prices for the sake of Northern Ireland's prosperity and the certainty and sustainability for all of Northern Ireland's farming families and related industries."