THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has issued a stark warning this week to the Government on the impact that a no-deal would have on Britain’s competitiveness in EU agricultural markets.
The CLA, which represents 30,000 rural businesses in England and Wales, says that the imposition of tariffs and regulatory checks will have a detrimental effect on the UK farming sectors most dependent on trade with the EU.
From 2013-17, 82 per cent of the UK beef and 78 per cent of the dairy/eggs and fruit and vegetables that were exported went to the EU.
But it is the lamb sector that is considered to be one of the most vulnerable, with 89 per cent of all sheep-meat exports finding their way to the EU.
The CLA has calculated that, under a no-deal scenario, because of tariffs based on UK exports, some three million lamb carcases could have to come back to the UK market, if UK exports are around 2019 levels.
The impact of this will be to depress prices, and nearly two million carcases might not be sold.
Even with a dramatic increase in domestic consumption, and the sector stretching the UK’s cold storage capacity, there is a possibility that millions of lamb carcases will go to waste. And with a greater proportion of UK-produced lamb staying in the UK market, farmers face a dramatic drop in the value of their lambs.