As another General Election approaches, the Agricultural Industries Confederation has published a document outlining what the UK agri-supply industry looks to the next Government to deliver. The key three points are: a Brexit outcome that recognises the strategic importance of UK agriculture; supports a growth agenda, laying the foundation for a competitive, commercial and business sector; and recognition of the potential damage that a ‘no deal’ outcome on Brexit negotiations would deliver to UK agribusiness.
The document is divided into two parts. The first dealing with Brexit issues, the second reflecting on the current regime where the UK is still a member of the European Union.
On Brexit, AIC urges the Government to work constructively with EU partners; to recognise the strategic importance of timely and accurate data on trade flows; as well as focusing on a practical and workable solution to replace the customs union.
“For decades, the UK agricultural industry has been based on complex trading relationships both within the EU and beyond,” said AIC Chief Executive David Caffall. “There is a genuine desire for existing trade patterns to be preserved, not just within the UK, but across the EU and further afield those who export to and import from the UK want to maintain these relationships.”
Within the UK, AIC seeks Government to affirm its financial commitment to agri-tech funding of programmes that deliver real benefits across the industry as part of a wider coherent strategy on science and innovation in agriculture. It also calls for formal recognition of the value of professional on-farm advice.
“AIC’s value of advice highlighted how both industry initiatives and Government sources influenced on-farm activity. However, to date, Government has failed to capitalise on the benefits that collaboration with industry could deliver in policy terms,” said Mr Caffall.
“The UK has benefited from industry investment in agricultural research and development. For this commitment to continue, industry needs clear signals that such work will be encouraged. Government needs to send a clear message to the world that the UK is a natural home for agricultural research,” said Mr Caffall.
The AIC document ‘General Election 2017 – what the UK agricultural supply industry seek’ is available as a download from the AIC website www.agindustries.org.uk