AIC disappointed Agriculture Bill lacks trade detail
12 September 2018
Lack of details on trade and failure to acknowledge food as a ‘public good’ within the Government’s early announcement of its Agriculture Bill are disappointing for the Agricultural Industries Confederation.
However, the Confederation welcomes opportunities on research and development as well as the extended seven year transition period.
Responding to the pre-publication announcements, AIC Chief Executive Robert Sheasby expressed concern on the lack of detail on how trade will operate.
“Trade is vital. Whether it is importing farm inputs such as livestock feed and crop protection products, or exporting produce, trade is vital to the whole farm and food supply chains,” says Mr Sheasby. “Today’s news on the shortfall of vets to oversee exports in the event of a no-deal Brexit reflects the need for concern on the UK’s trading ability.”
AIC, along with many other bodies responding to the command paper ‘Health and Harmony’, called for food to be recognised amongst public goods – for which farmers will be rewarded in the future. That this call appears to have been ignored in announcements so far is a disappointment.
There are welcome features. In particular, the much-needed commitment to innovation and R&D.
“The supply industry can play an essential part in both developing new techniques and delivering knowledge to farm through professionally-qualified advisers working in agronomy and livestock nutrition,” says Mr Sheasby.
Through the goods and services which it delivers, the agrisupply industry will have a vital part to play in the development and implementation of Environmental Land Management schemes. However, AIC believes structures will be needed that enable freedom and flexibility to deliver the outcomes to which government aspires.
“The farm supply industry is the foundation of the whole UK farming and food sector. The publication and implementation of this Bill presents a great opportunity for more integration across the supply chain which can deliver benefits for farming, the environment and the UK economy as a whole,” concludes Mr Sheasby.