Friday, June 23, 2017

Challenges for grains post-Brexit

The AHFB has produced a comprehensive report on the challenges facing the grain sector post-Brexit: Grain challenges

The report emphasises that the global grain trade is driven by competitiveness. It is a high volume, low margin business, dominated by relatively few multinationals. The UK is a small player in a big market. In the past four seasons the UK exported 11 per cent of its wheat and 17 per cent of its barley crop. Competition for barley export business is likely to get tougher in future. There is no doubt that the UK faces tough competition from lower cost producers with higher outputs.

Any change in trade and support arrangements is likely to lead to structural changes on farm. Further farm consolidation could follow to achieve economies of scale.

The loss of preferential treatment in relation to the EU market is likely to mean loss of access agreements with non-EU countries such as Morocco and Algeria in the absence of new access arrangements and probably tariffs.

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Strawberry prices could soar

Growers have warned that strawberry prices could soar if they no longer have access to seasonal EU workers after Brexit. Already this year the number of seasonal workers has fallen by 17 per cent because of the fall in the value of sterling and uncertainties about the future: EU workers

Former Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom suggested that farmers should invest in machinery as an alternative, but this is not an option for some crops. Machinery would damage soft fruit.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

No need for experts at Defra

There will be no need for experts at Defra after Michael Gove was appointed Secretary of State at the department in the reshuffle of the Cabinet.

It had been widely anticipated that Andrea Leadsom would be replaced and she becomes Leader of the House of Commons.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Confidence levels among farmers falling

Confidence levels among farmers are falling, despite a good short-term outlook, according to this report from The Guardian.

However, it repeats the myth that farmers were among the 'staunchest supporters' of Brexit. Where is the evidence for this statement? To generalise from rural voting to that of farmers is to commit an ecological fallacy, a basic methodological error.

Read the report here: Gloomy farmers

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