Agriculture

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th October 2019.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she will take to ensure adequate supplies of (a) animal feed, (b) fertilisers and (c) other crop treatments which cannot be stockpiled in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are in regular dialogue with the farming unions, processors and allied industries about the availability of animal feed and other supplies in the event of a no deal.

In 2017, the UK produced 13.9 million tonnes of animal feed. Included in this amount was 3.9 million tonnes of ingredients imported from third countries and 2.2 million tonnes from the EU. This would suggest that the sector is less dependent on imports from the EU. However, we will continue to monitor the markets in order to determine the impact of our leaving the EU on prices and supply.

In preparations for no deal, the Government has taken steps to secure additional freight capacity, guaranteeing the supply of critical goods.

Existing EU regulations for marketing fertilisers will be converted into UK law in the event of a no deal withdrawal. Products sold as EC fertilisers can be sold in the UK with the same packaging for two years as long as they continue to comply with the EU regulations. This system has been developed to ensure continuity of supply of fertiliser imports from the EU to the UK farming industry. The information has been published in a guidance document available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manufacturing-and-marketing-fertilisers-if-there-is-no-brexit-deal

The UK is a net importer of fertilisers, and therefore a valuable market for exports from other countries. We are expecting the supply of fertilisers to remain consistent and to continue to use trading routes which do not include the port of Dover. We will continue to look at all likely EU withdrawal scenarios with a view to limiting consequential impacts on the supply chain and trade.

In the event of no deal, the same pesticide products will continue to be authorised for use in the UK immediately after departure.

After withdrawal, businesses trading with the EU will broadly be subject to customs controls in the same way as businesses who are trading with the rest of the world. HMRC has announced that a number of temporary easements are in place to help businesses make this transition, including measures to simplify tariffs and customs declarations.

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