Don’t look for a Brexit deal any time soon, FenGrain boss Rob Munro told the AgriRisk Forum.
Mr Murno said that given the divided parliament, and the huge number of policy issues, “the secession treaty will take a lot more work than is being given credence”.
UK prime minister Theresa May is insisting that Article 50, the process to leave the EU, will be triggered in March, opening up a two year window for negotiations.
But Mr Munro was sceptical, saying that given the complexity of the process, a deal was more likely five or six years away.
‘Thank Christ for Hammond’
Mr Murno noted the uncertainty of the current political situation.
“Thank Christ for Mr Hammond!” Mr Murno said, referring to the UK chancellor, who is known as a prominent backer of a “soft Brexit” with a focus on retaining access to the single market,
Another risk is posed by the access to labour, if the UK becomes more closed.
“We’ve got to drop the phrase “migrant labour,” or “unskilled labour,” he said.
But Mr Munro was sanguine on opportunities for the UK agricultural sector, saying the deal could bring “opportunities as well as threats”.
As the UK imports more food than it exports, trade barriers could open up domestic markets to domestic producers.
“Given the level of trade deficit there is an opportunity with food companies,” Mr Munro said.
A science based approach
And freedom from EU regulation could deliver the “freedom to farm,” allowing farmers to take a “science based approach,” regarding GMOs and agrichemicals.
“There is an opportunity for us to get agriculture back on a scientific footingIn particular, Mr Munro noted cheerfulness among poultry and pig farmers, who have felt the weight of regulation without any EU support.
‘Don’t get fired’
“Change is not new,” Mr Munro said, noting that markets “never had certainty and stability”.
“Brexit will not stop the flow of change,” Mr Munro said. “War doesn’t stop it.”
And as for advice for the future, Mr Munro said “look for opportunity keep your profile up, and don’t get fired”.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/brexit-uncertainty-could-continue-for-years-fengrain-boss-warns–10215.html)