NFU Cymru and BMPA shared concerns over Brexit’s impact on the red meat sector
Brexit remains the single biggest challenge facing the red meat sector within Wales, according to Welsh National Farmers Union and British Meat Processing Association. The two organisations have called on Welsh Government to carry out a thorough impact assessment on the long-term impact of the proposed withdrawal of support payments for the active food-producing family farm, as well as the knock-on effects to the processing sector and rural communities.
As part of the letter to Welsh AMs, NFU Cymru and BMPA have drawn together a shared set of agreed policy principles that will be essential to safeguarding the red meat sector in Wales:
- EU Trade- It is essential that the UK maintains a free and frictionless trading relationship with the EU with no tariffs or non-tariff barriers
- Non-EU Trade - There are opportunities for the red meat sector beyond the EU most notably a growing demand for protein from Asia however any future trade deals do need to be handled carefully. This must take into account the implication on domestic food production.
- Labour – The red meat processing sector is wholly reliant on EU labour and whilst committed to recruiting domestically, the reality is that over 60% employment is from the EU. A failure to devise a system that allows us access to labour will have a serious impact on domestic production levels
- Domestic Agricultural Policy – Brexit provides an opportunity to develop a new and dynamic agricultural policy that enables the development of a profitable, productive and progressive red meat industry in Wales. However, both organisations remain extremely concerned about the lack of focus on production in the current policy proposals and the omission of stability measures that underpin Wales’ productive capacity. NFU Cymru and BMPA call on Government to carry out a thorough impact assessment examining the long-term impact that the withdrawal of support payments could have for the active food producing family farm, as well as the knock-on effects to the processing sector and the rural communities that rely so heavily on this production base.
"The industry is presently facing huge uncertainty and as such we would urge Government to pause and carry out a thorough impact assessment on the long-term impact of the withdrawal of support payments for the active food producing family farm and the knock-on effects to the processing sector and the rural communities that rely so heavily on this production base.
The red meat industry, whether it be primary producers or the processing sector, is hugely proud of its contribution to Wales and we are ambitious for the future. However, we need to be absolutely clear that without an agricultural policy that has production at its heart and enables farmers to continue to provide the highest quality livestock, the very future and viability of our farming and processing sectors and the people that rely on it are in doubt.", shows the joint letter sent to Welsh Assembly Members.
Several assessments on Brexit have shown that Wales is going to take a serious hit after 29 March 2019 and even the leader of the Welsh government, Carwyn Jones said that Wales will be less prosperous under Theresa May's draft Brexit deal. Under the current EU budget, Wales have received £160 million a year, via the Rural Development Programme, supporting businesses, farmers and communities and £200 million a year as subsidies included in the Common Agricultural Policy, helping 16,000 Welsh farms. The single market is the destination for 90% of Wales food and drink exports and a trade barrier could be disastrous for the industry.
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