Agri-trade alliance prepares for Brexit battle

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/Gutzemberg
© istock/Gutzemberg

Related tags Agriculture United kingdom

A newly formed alliance of eight agri-trade groups in the UK sees strength in numbers as the exit from the EU looms.

The coalition’s stated purpose is to inform and influence the government during the negotiations to leave the EU in order to achieve a positive outcome for stakeholders involved in UK agribusiness.

It is coordinated by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), a trade group representing the feed, crop protection, grain and oilseed sectors in the UK, segments that account for some £8bn turnover at farmgate.

Asked whether agriculture is a key priority in the Brexit negotiations, chief executive of the AIC, David Caffall, told us: 

“A key driver in forming the coalition has been to ensure that the specific issues pertinent across the supply industry are raised, with a strong united voice, to UK governments – both at UK and devolved levels.”

The AIC was not in favor of Brexit prior to the referendum vote last June.

“On balance, and after rigorous assessment, our professional opinion is that despite the ongoing need to reform EU policies – particularly in the areas of sustainable agriculture, science and the introduction of new technologies, the short, medium and long-term interests of the AIC membership in the agricultural supply industry would be better served by remaining within the EU,”​ noted the lobby group in April 2016

Self-sufficiency model

Action to stimulate a dynamic, competitive UK livestock sector is another objective of the coalition:

“Looking forward, we believe improved efficiency and self-sufficiency across the whole farming sector are important, and recognize this is especially important in the livestock sector,”​ said Caffall. 

Caroline Vogelzang, director of investor relations and communications at ForFarmers, one of the biggest players on the UK feed market, commenting on the vote to leave the EU in June, said, in the medium to longer term, Brexit could lead to growth of ForFarmers’ UK operations:

The self-sufficiency ratio of pig farmers in the UK is around 60%, which entails that some 40% of pork meat is imported.

“Given the devaluation of the pound sterling, this may lead to a growth in pig farming, which then also can lead to a growth in our business of delivering feed and nutritional advice to pig farmers.”

Along with the AIC, the other coalition member are:

Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA)

Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC)

British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB)

Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV)

Crop Protection Association (CPA)

Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA)

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) and

National Office of Animal Health (NOAH)

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