Research, unveiled by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) at the Royal Welsh Show this morning, showed that lamb farmers could be “wiped out” if no deal is agreed upon.
At the show, HCC chairman Kevin Roberts said: “I warned at last year’s Show of ‘seismic’ no-Deal Brexit impacts – well, this new information means the effect on our producers of an October no-deal would be off the Richter scale.”
HCC, and the two other GB red meat levy boards (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Quality Meat Scotland), commissioned the research by the Andersons Centre, which calculated that combined beef and sheepmeat exports to the EU could decline by 92.% with lamb export trade “almost completely wiped out” which would hit market prices.
“We must do all we can in the short weeks ahead to prevent this perilous projection from becoming a reality,” warned Roberts. “We need a seamless and stable solution. With the right deal and unfettered access, HCC is ready to ramp up exports and boost domestic demand.”
Roberts also highlighted how HCC found many customers at home and abroad admired the ‘Welsh Way’ of low-intensity livestock farming, and the positive steps being taken by Welsh farmers to cut emissions and maximise carbon storage how. However he added the industry still had its detractors.
“Yet we still have to fight fake news. Those that peddle falsehoods about food production methods and its consequences for climate change may be under-researched, under qualified and often underhand. But that doesn’t stop them being over-hyped and all over social media.”
Roberts said cattle, sheep and pork farming contributed £688m to Welsh agricultural output and made a huge contribution to Welsh communities and way of life.
“Just now, prices are not where we would like them to be – for beef in particular. As well as the vagaries of supply and demand, part of the problem is economic and political uncertainty at Westminster. Later today HCC will draw together the farming unions, processors’ representatives and government. We share a determination to play our part to each do what we can.
“The message for today is: for our economy and the environment, Welsh farming is a Big Deal… It’s the real deal… but our great producers deserve so much more than a disastrous No-deal,” added Roberts.