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  1. Agri-Brexit Coalition – Review and Future Plans

    The eight trade association members of the Agri-Brexit Coalition met at the AIC office on Monday August 6th, to review progress to date and make detailed plans for the autumn programme.

    The series of seminars held at the RAF Club in London were considered to be highly successful, with good Stakeholder attendance and important messages from the supply industry being fed through to Defra and other government departments at senior civil servant level.

    Of particular note was the success of the recently-held Trade seminar where individual supply industry companies gave testimony to the opportunities – and challenges of Brexit. We therefore plan to re-use this rather more directly-relevant dimension in our autumn programme.

    Provisional plans for this recognise that there will be a crucially important timeslot between the publication of the forthcoming Agriculture Bill – probably in mid to late September, and the end of the consultation period which is expected to run throughout the autumn.

    Our plan therefore is to organise two events, probably in the late October / November period. Firstly a seminar where a different selection of Coalition member businesses comment about the effects that the Agriculture Act would have upon them. Once again, this will be targeted at Senior Civil Servants and other key stakeholders. Secondly – and held later on the same day if possible, we plan a House of Commons reception at which similar messages will be given, but this time with an audience consisting of MPs and Peers.

    The eight members of the Agri-Brexit Coalition expressed their satisfaction that this Coalition format has enabled their voice to be heard higher and more clearly with key stakeholders than would otherwise be possible within individual organisations. One small example of this is that Defra have asked permission for the Health & Harmony Report which will be published concurrently with the Agriculture Bill, to specifically quote from the Agri-Brexit Coalition’s written submission.

    David Caffall
    Director of Policy, AIC and Agri-Brexit Coalition Co-ordinator

  2. UK agrisupply businesses looking outside the UK due to Brexit uncertainties

    With so much uncertainty surrounding what Brexit means, UK agribusinesses are already moving operations out of Britain and others are taking irreversible decisions on business location and investment, a workshop organised in London by the Agri-Brexit Coalition heard recently.

    Speakers were drawn from across the sectors represented by the Coalition members including machinery, animal health, crop protection, fertiliser, seed breeding and grain and feed trading. For some, plans to expand from a UK base into the EU27 had been put on hold; others were looking or had taken decisions to create operational hubs for manufacturing and/or logistics inside the EU-27. Such moves would simplify operations for components or finished goods.

    Despite the diversity of speakers, ranging from established UK family firms to multi-national animal health and crop protection companies, the plea was the same for certainty on issues of trade and regulation.

    Many of the sectors have complex supply chains, for instance vegetable seed can cross national boundaries several times as a variety is developed and then multiplied up for sale. Customs delays and tariffs would undermine this sector. However, the biggest headache would be the need for thousands of phytosanitary certificates which at present are not required in the single market.

    In crop protection, a move from a hazard to risk-based approach would be welcome. However, for growers looking to export produce to the EU, the European approvals system would likely take priority. Both crop protection and animal health businesses highlighted the complexity of product labelling that Brexit may bring and the extra investment needed is unlikely to be justified for niche crops or health issues.

    Talk of liberal trade regimes is a double-edged sword for some businesses. Whilst it may open up other markets, it would also expose the UK to the potential of product dumping – putting both UK standards and business at risk. To lobby against unfair trade a Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance has been formed which includes UK-based fertiliser industries.

    Regardless of the goods or services supplied, the whole agrisupply industry depends on a sustainable UK agriculture. The uncertainty of how farming fortunes may fare adds to the overall uncertainty. The potential for improved traceability and quality produce undoubtedly exists, but policy makers need to be careful of unintended consequences as they devise legislation going forward.

    “Time and again speakers spoke of the frustrations at the lack of clarity on government’s plans. As Brexit rapidly approaches, the agribusiness and agrisupply industries need guidance on the future trading environment they will face,” said Ruth Bailey, Chief Executive of the Agricultural Engineers Association who organised the event on behalf of the Agri-Brexit Coalition.

    “Despite all the challenges, there is still plenty of optimism amongst the supply industries. Everyone will still be in business on day zero and well-beyond. There are opportunities, which agribusiness is keen to grasp with innovative products, technology and services.

    “We hope that the workshop was a wake-up call for the government officials who attended and gave them an insight into the complexity of issues that businesses need resolving.”



  3. AgriBrexit Coalition Newsletter, Summer 2017

    Agri-Brexit Coalition Newsletter, Summer 2017

    • Seeking a fair trading position for UK agriculture across Europe and beyond
    • Delivering innovation
    • Raising productivity; delivering economic benefit
    • Creating practical solutions to policy and regulation
    • Helping to deliver a modern, resilient UK agriculture
  4. Agri-Brexit Coalition prepares to play its part for the future of UK food and farming

    With Article 50 now formally triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May, the Agri-Brexit Coalition looks forward to playing an active and informed role in helping Government achieve its objective of the best deal for the UK and the industry to meet opportunities and challenges.

    “With the combined knowledge brought by all our member organisations, we have one of the largest pools of expertise in farm research, implementation and trade marketing. What’s more we deliver that knowledge in practical ways to farms and agribusiness every day ,” said Coalition Coordinator David Caffall.  “Making that expertise available to government as negotiations progress will help us achieve that best deal outcome.”

    The Agri-Brexit Coalition, founded by eight organisations and trade associations involved in agribusiness, brings together the expertise of this particular sector of UK agriculture plc as negotiations on Brexit progress.