A report, commissioned by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and conducted by The Andersons Centre, found that the sheepmeat sector is particularly vulnerable to a no-deal situation.
Examining various potential outcomes of the Brexit situation, the report explored the effect on domestic consumption, carcase balance, production, prices and on-farm profitability.
It predicts that a Brexit deal scenario would have little impact on beef and sheepmeat sector, with slight export deceases (1.1%) estimated. A no-deal scenario tells a vastly different story, the report believes it would cause “significant upheaval for both beef and sheepmeat trade, with exports to the EU falling substantially”. It estimates that the overall impact on the value of domestically produced meat is expected to be -4% for beef and -31% for sheepmeat.
The report added that “frictionless trade with the EU27 as a third country is not currently possible and the development and implementation of the required technology could take a decade”. It warned that value deterioration, especially for fresh meat, arising from border-related delays due to physical checks and sampling accounted for more than 60% of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) costs on checked loads, and that smaller businesses are likely to be disproportionately impacted by NTMs, due to the regulatory burden and the cost of more checks over fewer loads.
Sarah Baker, AHDB strategic insight manager, said: “The analysis is a representation of reality and assumes farmers take no action in response to the price changes. In reality, they will adapt and some trade will continue but the potential impact will be nonetheless substantial for the sheep sector.
“Importantly, the recommendations in the report give us a basis for discussion with the industry and will feed into to our strategic direction for the future.”