2 February 2017

Kent MPs hear post Brexit farm view

NFU puts post Brexit food and farming in spotlight for MPs

Kent MPs have heard from the NFU how government could help Kent farmers and growers continue to feed the county’s 1.7million residents post Brexit.

The NFU addressed seven Kent MPs during a meeting* at Portcullis House, Westminster, yesterday evening (January 17). The NFU set out the positive contribution of agriculture to society and detailed four principles which British food production needs in a post-Brexit Britain:

  • The best possible access to trade with Europe
  • Access to a competent and reliable workforce
  • Government policy recognition of agriculture as a key industry in a post-Brexit Britain
  • A period of transition to allow farm businesses to adapt to any changes to trading relationships or agricultural policy

In outlining the critical role of agriculture in Kent, the NFU explained that farming underpins the UK’s food and drink sector which is worth £108billion. Around 15% of Kent’s workforce is in the food industry and there are 15,000 farm jobs in Kent.

Kent NFU Adviser Amanda Corp was among the NFU delegation. She said: “The Kent MPs saw a series of video presentations from county farmers and growers. They were very supportive, saying the NFU should continue to promote the role of agriculture in food security and self sufficiency.

“Kent MPs recognised the urgent need for a trial this year of a Home Office-run Seasonal Agricultural Permit Scheme for non UK workers. There was a very productive discussion of how this scheme might work.  Such a scheme is essential if Kent’s farmers and growers are to continue to produce affordable home-grown food that we know consumers want.”

The NFU has been reminding decision-makers nationwide that almost three quarters ( 72%) of agricultural exports go to the EU with some sectors being heavily dependent on trade with the rest of Europe.