UK food and farming industry outlines Brexit goals
THIRTY-seven organisations representing the UK's food and farming industry, including the Ulster Farmers' Union, have set out what a successful Brexit means to them in a joint statement.
Following a recent meeting at the National Farmers Union's ‘Brexit360' event, attended by among others UFU president, Barclay Bell, and CEO, Wesley Aston, it was agreed to pen the statement, which touches upon key issues for the industry.
Delegates were united in their view that a thriving domestic food and farming base is central to the future environmental, social and economic health of the country. They stated that the sector will continue to have a critical role in providing a secure, affordable and trusted supply of food.
Attendees agreed many high level aims that the Government must seek to achieve in the coming months as the UK prepares to leave the EU. This includes maintaining free and frictionless trade with the EU, ongoing access to labour and ensuring businesses operate under an efficient and proportionate regulatory system that is centred on scientific evaluation and that incentivises innovation and competitiveness.
UFU president, Barclay Bell said the statement highlights the crucial role the food supply sector will continue to play post-Brexit.
“In providing people with a safe, secure and affordable supply of food to some of the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world; in managing over 70 per cent of the UK landmass that is farmed; in providing 3.9 million jobs in industries both pre- and post-farmgate; and in contributing to two of the UK economy's big success stories: UK manufacturing and retail. The government must ensure it supports these vital advantages delivered by UK food and drink businesses as it negotiates our withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU."
“This is a strong coalition of 36 signatories that represent a huge range of food businesses from farmers and agricultural suppliers, to food manufacturers and retailers. And there is more to come; we have agreed to build on the principles discussed and to produce a shared manifesto harnessing the support of food and drink companies across the UK ahead of the EU Council in March," Mr Bell added.