No Deal Threat to Combinable Crops Export Potential

Union calls for Government to act on biofuels

NFU Scotland has stated following its attendance at this week’s AHDB Grain Outlook Conference and a joint meeting with fellow UK farming Unions that Government failure to get a Brexit deal done in Brussels and Westminster would have terrible consequences for the cereals sector.

In the absence of a deal with the EU, AHDB scenarios indicate that in a ‘no deal’ situation, the UK will have around a million tonnes more wheat and barley looking for non-EU markets.  

The impact of that on the market would be compounded by the deeply damaging tariffs currently included in the Government’s proposed tariff schedule that would come into play in the event of a ‘no deal’.

NFU Scotland Combinable Crops Committee chairman Ian Sands, Vice Chairman Willie Thomson and Policy Manager Peter Loggie attended the meetings.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Sands, who farms at Balbeggie near Perth said: “Scottish growers need the Government to strike a deal with Brussels that does not expose us to crippling tariffs on exports to Europe while allowing grain and grain products, such as malt, from out with the UK to enter here tariff free.  

“We must be in a position to trade competitively and fairly.  Despite the efforts of the grain trade, which have resulted in nearly double the amount of grain being exported this season compared to last, we will still have a lot of wheat and barley looking for export destinations.  The potential to move that grain in the event of a ‘no deal’ would be thrown into chaos by the UK Government’s current tariff schedule.

“One potential use for some of that grain is biofuels.  The farming unions agree that the UK Government must increase the amount of bioethanol in petrol sold in the UK.

“Unlike many other countries, the normal inclusion rate in the UK is just five percent rather than 10 or more (designated 'E10').  Without the confidence that demand for bioethanol will increase, the UK industry will be left at risk.  That has been the story over past years with bioethanol facilities having to be mothballed for long periods due to market uncertainties.

“The UK Government needs to stop delaying and get on with the introduction of E10 petrol onto UK forecourts.”  Ends

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 142/19

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