Commodity watch by senior policy officer Patricia Erwin
Windsor Framework – Seed potato trade opens up with Scotland
The ability to trade seed potatoes between Scotland and Northern Ireland (NI) will re-open on 30 September. The Windsor Framework and the introduction of ‘green channels’ will reopen the trade between Scotland and NI for high grade seed potatoes. Growers and merchants need to understand and recognise that trade in seed potatoes to the rest of Europe sits outside this agreement, including moving seed into the Republic of Ireland.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is reminding the potato industry going forward, it is important that everyone makes themselves familiar with the rules and comply. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and DEFRA will be providing information and guidance to growers and traders on what actions are necessary to move goods through a series of webinars scheduled to run throughout September and October.
For up-to-date guidance, DAERA and DEFRA encourage you to sign up for gov.uk alerts. Questions or queries can be emailed to email@example.com .
Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme – consultation
The UFU is currently engaging with horticulture producers who use the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) in preparation for responding to the MEC call for evidence on the SAWS.
Early engagement has identified labour is a big challenge. Both permanent and seasonal labour is essential, if we are to maintain domestic food security and provide consumers with high quality, nutritious, climate-friendly nourishing food.
The mushroom sector is also seeking inclusion in the ‘shortage occupation list’ (SOL). This sector in particular is experiencing intense labour shortage and highlights that the SAWS does not meet industry needs.
Despite UFU horticulture members and businesses having a variety of platforms and techniques to advertise for new employees, such as recruitment agencies, social media, word of mouth and taking varying measures to retain and recruit, all have found attracting and retaining labour a challenge across vegetable and fruit sectors.
In all horticulture sectors from propagation, growing and harvesting, the technology is not there. Therefore, they are still heavily reliant on human labour, especially at harvest.
The consultation deadline has been extended until 2 October 2023.
AHDB visit NI
A special UFU seeds and cereals policy committee breakfast meeting with AHDB is planned for Wednesday 4 October. ADHB representatives will present information regarding the awaited consultation on proposed need for increased levy.
The UFU committee chairman in partnership with the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise and Ulster Arable Society, are progressing plans for speakers at their conference in 2024. Provisional date, Tuesday 30 January – to be confirmed.
The European Commission has published its proposal for the draft renewal regulation for glyphosate. The document acknowledges that, “glyphosate has been subject to two comprehensive assessments since 2012, both of which have not identified concerns.”
The Commission is proposing a minimum of 10-year renewal – next steps SCoPAFF will meet this Friday (22 September) with an expected vote on 12-13 October.