Agriculture lobby has wish list for the incoming UK government

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/bahadir-yeniceri
© istock/bahadir-yeniceri

Related tags United kingdom International trade European union

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), a trade group representing the feed, crop protection, and fertilizer industries in the UK, has produced a manifesto outlining what the UK agri-supply industry wants the next government to deliver.

Voters go to the polls in the UK on 8 June. 

The AIC document calls for a Brexit that recognizes the strategic importance of UK agriculture, and it also sets out the sector’s aspirations for EU exit negotiations as well as it priorities for UK domestic policy.

The agribusiness segments represented by AIC account for some £7.5bn ($9.7bn) turnover at farmgate; the confederation said its membership employs 43,000 people in the UK directly and indirectly.

Trade data

The new government should must work constructively with EU partners to develop a bilateral approach to agriculture trade that takes into account historical and existing trading patterns, said the group.

Agribusiness in the UK and in the EU have been openly calling for as little disruption to existing trading activities in the substantial two way flow of goods and services.

Leaving the EU means the UK will lose input to and access to valuable sources of trade data, noted the AIC.

“The UK government has been continually withdrawing from producing agricultural statistics, and is, therefore, at risk of being ‘blind-sided’ and unable to react properly to events.”

The trade group, thus, urged the incoming UK government to acknowledge the strategic importance of timely and accurate data on trade flows once existing EU structures end.

Moreover, it said introducing a physical border between the UK and the EU means a seven-fold increase in customs clearance requirements. “The focus must be on establishing border clearance and administration, especially in Northern Ireland, to minimize both the physical delays and administrative burden on business.”

Research funding

The agri supply sector also wants the new UK government to confirm “its financial commitment to agri-tech funding of programs that deliver real benefits across the [UK] industry as part of a wider coherent strategy on science and innovation in agriculture.”

The AIC said it welcomes pledges from the various UK political parties backing the UK's continued involvement in EU research initiatives.

Labour's manifesto promises that the party in government would "ensure that the UK maintains our leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programs and by welcoming research staff to the UK.”

The Conservative Party said there may be specific European programs in which the UK might want to participate and, if so, it would be reasonable for the UK, then, to contribute funds.

The AIC is coordinating an alliance of eight agri-trade groups in the UK, the Agri-Brexit Coalition, which was set up in March this year. It focuses on the specific issues that Brexit raises for those involved in the supply of goods, services and trade within UK agriculture.

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

“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,”​ David Caffall, AIC chief executive told us previously.

The other bodies in the coalition include:

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)

Related news

Show more