Arla Foods UK managing director issues Brexit call to action

Arla Foods UK managing director issues Brexit call to action: “Now is the time for the food and farming industries to work together when leaving the EU”

Arla Foods UK’s managing director has issued a call to the food and farming industry to work together to form one single voice around Brexit and he has committed to identify ways to make this happen.

Tomas Pietrangeli has published an article on Brexit outlining why it is both exciting and daunting but that the industry must protect itself against the threats and maximise opportunities.

Tomas said: “There is no doubt that Brexit brings uncertainty, and although we’re optimistic about the future of the industry, severe damage could be done if the deal negotiated does not have food producers and farmers at its heart.

“While everyone I’ve spoken to has expressed clear enthusiasm for our sector, I’ve heard a lot of different stories, fears and concerns about the possible impact of the various Brexit scenarios on the cards. My call at this time of uncertainty is to talk with one voice, and I’ll be working in the coming months to continue establishing how this can be done.”

The full article by Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director Arla Foods UK, is below.

Now is the time for the food and farming industries to work together on Brexit

For the food and farming industries, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is both exciting and daunting. For every new opportunity that opens up for new dairy export markets, there is a concern about access to markets closer to home; for every call to revamp the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), there are concerns about what will happen to the levels of support that farmers receive.

With so much speculation about what the impact of Brexit might be, it is important now, more than ever, that the food and farming industries work together to achieve the best outcomes for both. This is also true of wider business, with the Confederation of Industry (CBI) recently espousing the need for business collaboration.

Since the referendum, I’ve held talks with farmers, trade associations, the NFU and Government ministers on the potential impact of Brexit on the industry. And, while everyone I’ve spoken to has expressed clear enthusiasm for what we do, I’ve heard a lot of different stories, fears and concerns about the possible impact of the various Brexit scenarios on the cards.

My call to the industry at this time of uncertainty is to talk with one voice, and I’ll be working in the coming months to continue developing ideas about how this can be done. We must also research and develop a clear fact-base to fully understand the impact of each scenario, and not be shy about putting our collective voice out there once we have done so.

I’ve been encouraged by the start that has already been made, and was proud recently to add my voice and that of Arla Foods UK to the largest-ever coalition of food producers and farming unions. Together, we wrote to the Prime Minister spelling out the need for the food and farming industries to maintain access to labour and tariff-free access to the single market after Brexit.

In November, I discussed the opportunities for international dairy trade in the future. Speaking with Ministers from the Department for International Trade, amongst other Parliamentarians, it was really exciting to hear the potential for collaborative work with Government as the UK dairy industry seeks to access foreign markets. Any development that is good for our industry will ultimately be good for Arla and its farmer owners, and dairy is ready to rise to the challenges of Brexit and seek out its opportunities.

In doing so, we must also protect ourselves against the threats. There is no doubt that Brexit brings uncertainty, and although we’re optimistic about the future of the industry, severe damage could be done if the deal negotiated does not have the industry’s needs at its heart.

This is all the more important as signs emerge that the industry is beginning to improve, with milk prices rising. We can’t afford to be timid, and must speak openly to the Government about what the sector wants from Brexit – it is through these initiatives; industry discussion, research into what Brexit will mean for us and direct calls to action from decision makers, that we can be prepared for both the challenges and opportunities Brexit may bring.

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