Letter: Mike Larcey August 18, 2017
Supermarkets have a strangle hold on farmers who are bravely trying to keep their heads above water by diversifying, such as through bed and breakfast businesses, farm shops, crisp and vodka making.
Now, the nail in the coffin of UK agriculture is about to be driven in – Brexit. There is a fantasy world that the non-EU world is going to come knocking impatiently at the UK door for trade deals. The reality is, as President Obama said, the UK has to go to the back of the queue. Part of the reality is that any trade deal will be agreed on non-EU partners’ terms. This means that the UK will have to agree to import food of lower standard than we have at the moment. Take for instance the future trade deal with Trump’s USA. Remember that Trump is foremost a businessman and thinks in terms of what is the best deal for him and his backers. Part of this deal is reported to include the UK agreeing to import chlorinated chicken. This will be happening in such vast amounts and at such reduce prices, that UK farmers will not be able to compete. Only a group like Waitrose will be able sell UK standard, free range chickens. Chlorine can be harmful to humans. It is used to decontaminate swimming pools. Do we want such lower standards of food? This is just one example of where the UK will have to agree to low standards of food production in order to get trade agreements.
India, China, Japan, Brazil and Argentina are more important to world trade than the EU-less UK. People who have their heads in the sands, blind to any independent report and research, will continue to dig in the hole they are in. Let us face the facts: the Leavers had no plan and still have no plan.