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Brexit deadline pressures UK farmers to export surpluses

Farmers across the UK are desperately trying to finish their harvests and ship their surpluses abroad before the Brexit deadline of 31 October, as by then a no-deal departure would force them to abandon European markets in favour of Africa.

According to a report in The Guardian, a no-deal departure would drastically curtail access to EU markets, with only a limited amount allowed in at a tariff of €16 a tonne. Farmers would be left seeking markets in north Africa, where mainly British grain would have to be discounted to compete, leaving many out of pocket.

A no-deal departure would drastically curtail access to EU markets, with only a limited amount allowed in at a tariff of €16 (£14) a tonne. Farmers would be left seeking markets in north Africa, where British grain would have to be discounted to compete, leaving many out of pocket.

“The Brexit deadline is having a severe impact with short-term pressure to execute exports before the deadline,” said Tom Bradshaw of the National Farmers’ Union.

“Not only is freight more expensive but purchasers [in north Africa] often demand moisture content below 14% where our UK specification is 15%, and with a catchy harvest [interrupted by weather] this could prove very difficult.”

Longer term a dwindling export market and smaller chip shop portions may hit demand in the chipping market. As such we may need to see a decrease in the UK chipping area to re-align supply and demand over the coming years.

Full report on The Guardian website here