Commodity Watch - Arable & horticulture policy update

Friday, 6 September, 2019

Commodity Watch - Arable & horticulture policy update by Patricia Erwin

Brexit

August has proven to be a month of flurry for Ulster Farmers’ Union arable and horticulture committees who have met to discuss implications should a no-deal Brexit happen.  All including potato, vegetable, cereal, mushroom and apple, participated in assisting the UFU quantify what help the sectors may need post October 31st for the short medium and longer term.

UFU Deputy President David Brown, chaired a constructive and informative meeting for UFU arable and horticulture chairs and industry representatives, when they met recently with DAERA officials.  The aim of the meeting was to open up effective communication channels to help everyone gain a better understanding of the challenges should a no-deal result, and collectively learn and explore all probable solutions for the best possible outcome for plant health, and our ability to import and export produce and plant material.

Industry were presented facts and clarity regarding import / export plant health regulations as known to-date by DAERA.  The message was clear – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  For industry to plan they need to have and understand the most up to-date and correct information, and whilst some of the messages were unpalatable, knowledge is key when navigating the best possible outcomes should ‘no-deal’ result.  With much still to be confirmed regarding regulations moving forward, all attending were encouraged to ask specific questions about phytosanitary certificates, certificates of conformity and urgently act and comply with the Data Protection regulations, and reply to DAERA giving them permission to make contact.

UFU arable and horticulture chairs will continue to liaise with DAERA officials and in the interim, clarity is being progressed on additional questions raised by our members at the meeting.

DAERA are delivering information events (preparing for a potential no-deal EU exit for agri-food importers/exporters running from 10am - 4 pm). UFU welcome this announcement and encourage those affected to register as soon as possible to secure their place as the events are expected to gather huge interest.

12th September 2019 - Tullyglass Hotel Ballymena

17th September 2019 - Silverbirch Hotel Omagh

24th September 2019 - Tullyglass Hotel Ballymena

1st October 2019 - Lough Neagh Discovery Centre Craigavon

Research

Both the Ulster Farmers’ Union arable chairman David Matthews, and Top Fruit (Armagh Bramley) chairman David Johnston, are in discussions with AFBI representatives regarding specific sector research needs and proposed sector projects submitted for consideration. 

Date for your diary

Our Ulster Farmers’ Union leadership team and chairs will be attending the following events:

Randox NI Potato Festival - 5th October 2019 at the Giants Causeway

Richhill Apple Fayre - 26th October 2019 at Richhill Armagh                     

2020 Arable Conference - 14th January 2020 at CAFRE Greenmount Antrim

Keep up to-date with your sectors challenges, tribulations and successes on UFU’s Facebook page as the UFU help profile arable and horticulture production.