5 Irish and UK farm groups call for clarity on Brexit

Five farming organisations have made a joint call for clarity on the issue of Brexit in advance of the European Council meeting on April 10, where an extension to Article 50 could be agreed.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has met with its UK farming counterparts: the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU); the National Farmers’ Union (NFU); NFU Scotland; and NFU Cymru to discuss the impact of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Following the meeting, which took place in Co. Fermanagh earlier today, Friday, April 5, IFA president Joe Healy said:

“For months now we have been calling for clarity. It is crucial politicians prioritise the needs of business and the welfare and long-term prosperity of the agri-food sector.

Food and farming play a key role in both the Irish and UK economies and every effort should made to ensure the industry is protected.

“It is unbelievable that farmers and growers in Ireland, the UK and in the rest of Europe are still operating without any certainty on a future trading relationship.”

The president noted that the uncertainty is having real world business consequences at present, as well as causing “unnecessary stress and huge anxiety” for farmers who have no idea what trading conditions they will be faced with in the future.

“”We want to make clear that a no-deal exit would be economically disastrous, and that we need to avoid a catastrophic, disorderly exit from the EU.

Healy said that any extension must be used constructively and “not merely delay no deal, setting up another ‘cliff edge’ scenario”.

There is a common call coming from organisations representing thousands of farming families to ensure free and frictionless trade, alignment on high standards of production, and a determination to cooperate for the best possible future for our members.

“The location of our meeting is significant. Farming families in border regions have much to lose in a no-deal scenario or a badly managed Brexit. They can expect to face major disruptions to their businesses and indeed daily life.

“It is vital it is understood what is at stake. We stand with other farming organisations in our call for sufficient time to establish a way forward that recognises the needs of farming businesses across Europe,” Healy concluded.