BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – The British government will publish a session paper on future agriculture coverage “very shortly”, Environment Minister Michael Gove mentioned on Tuesday, as farmers demanded extra readability on their prospect after the nation quits the European Union.
“Our consultation paper will outline how we plan to change things more broadly. The paper will outline a clear direction of travel on how we can better deliver support,” Gove mentioned on the annual conference of National Farmers Union. “But it is a consultation, not a conclusion.”
British farmers have been rising more and more impatient on the government’s failure to supply clear steering on its plans for supporting agriculture after the UK leaves the EU.
“For too long, ministers have claimed to have a plan. So we ask again, let’s hear that plan,” Meurig Raymond, president of the farmers union, instructed the group’s annual conference.
“We have 400 days until we leave the EU. We have a lot less time than that to get a trade deal agreed. Time is running out,” he mentioned.
Britain is because of depart the EU on March 29, 2019.
The session paper will solely cowl England. Agriculture in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the duty of the devolved administrations of these states.
One of Britain’s largest berry producers, Haygrove in Ledbury, Herefordshire, mentioned earlier this month that it was relocating some raspberry and blueberry rising to China due to uncertainty over migrant labor brought on by Brexit.
“When I hear of a large fruit farmer in Herefordshire thinking of exporting his business to China, that is when I get nervous, that is why we need that commitment, why we need to know (on future trade and migrant labor arrangements),” Raymond mentioned.
Gove mentioned he had been discussing the labor concern with colleagues within the government, however he added that choices on migration had been finally determined by the Home Office.
Raymond mentioned it was additionally very important that Britain not stroll away from the EU, by far its largest market for agricultural merchandise.
“We must have frictionless trade with the EU. Everything else, including the final shape of any domestic agricultural policy, is dependent on that,” he mentioned.
Gove mentioned there was a robust incentive for Britain and the EU to agree a superb commerce deal.
“We want to continue to have tariff-free and as frictionless as possible trade with the European Union, and it is in their interests for that to work for the EU as well,” he mentioned.
Reporting by Nigel Hunt, enhancing by Larry King