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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL13940, tabled on 20 February 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help boost growth in the UK agriculture and farming sector; and whether they anticipate that there will be a slowdown in growth in those industries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Answered on

5 March 2019

As we leave the EU and move into the future farming policy, we will help our farmers take advantage of the new opportunities that will become available.

Our future policies will support farmers to provide more home grown, healthy produce made to high environmental and animal welfare standards. We will use powers in the Agriculture Bill to provide support for farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to improve their productivity. We will work with industry and other partners to develop new approaches to research and development that build on investments such as the AgriTech Strategy and the £90 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Transforming Food Production initiative. We will explore how we can work with local authorities and other landowners to create more opportunities for new entrant farmers to get into the industry. We will improve access to data, so that farmers have the information that they need to benchmark their performance and track and manage the risks to their business. We will also introduce statutory codes of practice to improve fairness in the agricultural goods supply chain and protect producers from unfair trading practices.

The Agriculture Bill creates new powers to improve how the supply chain functions, to support farmers through extreme market disturbance, safeguard producer organisations and provide diverse new sources of income for farming business. We are in new discussions about how to go further to support the sustainability of food production and protect our high food standards that are integral to supporting a competitive trading environment.

Agriculture is devolved, and future policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the respective administrations. The devolved administrations do however benefit from UK wide investment such as through the 2013 AgriTech Strategy and the Industrial Strategy.

Whilst preparing for all outcomes, as any responsible Government would, we are also preparing for the possibility of no deal. As such, we are working to understand and anticipate the effects of a no deal for the UK’s agriculture and farming sector, and extensive work is underway to ensure the country continues to operate as smoothly as possible from the day we leave.