Organic farmers and growers run the risk of losing their organic premiums when selling products to Europe if no Brexit deal is reached, warns the NFU.
The farmers’ union south of the border says UK organic farmers face the prospect of a trade embargo being placed on their products, which are destined for the EU, if the UK leaves Europe without a deal.
John Pawsey, chairman of the union’s organic forum, said a no-deal Brexit could lead to organic products destined for Europe having to be sold as conventional.
He said the continuation of organic trade with Europe, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, would require the EU to formally recognise UK organic production standards and accept these as equivalent to EU standards.
“There is currently no mechanism in place to facilitate the equivalent process within the European Commission and estimated time scales of achieving this recognition could be as long as nine months,” said Mr Pawsey.
“It appears to have been left to certification bodies to work out how this can be achieved. Exports are an important part of the supply chain for British organic farmers and growers and we fear the consequences of excess product being trapped in the UK and the impacts that would have.”
He said the UK Government had already taken a step towards trying to ensure continuity of trade for organic products with a statutory instrument which stipulates the UK will continue to recognise EU control bodies for 21 months.
“I would like to see this transition period reciprocated for UK organic products entering the EU market in a no-deal scenario,” added Mr Pawsey.
“We continue to urge government and MPs not to leave the EU on these terms. If no deal is reached, the NFU would like to see the process of gaining recognition expedited as quickly as possible.”