Ian Duncan MEP has chaired a session exploring what future UK agricultural policy could look like outside the European Union. During a meeting of the ECR Policy Group on the Rural Economy, National Farmers' Union Scotland Vice President Andrew McCornick argued that new arrangements must be far simpler than the current Common Agricultural Policy, with a focus on supporting production and recognising scientific advice to boost innovation. He also raised concerns over price volatility, especially in relation to milk.
Commenting, Ian said,
‘In the future the UK will not be bound by the Common Agricultural Policy, but we must learn the lessons of where the policy has succeeded but also failed. In 2016 for example, farmers in Scotland experienced huge problems after the Scottish Government failed to make payments on time.
‘The clear message today was that the current CAP is too bureaucratic and cumbersome. Many farmers voted to leave the EU, and we must understand why.
‘We now have an opportunity to craft a policy which is fit for purpose, and will help not hinder farmers. I will be hosting a series of events, exploring how both fishermen and farmers can get the best deal possible as we begin the process of exiting the EU.’
Vice President McCornick added,
‘In a roundabout way, Brexit provides some vital pointers to CAP policy discussions. It is clear to us that whatever happens and however Brexit plays out in the years ahead, Europe will continue to be important to the UK and its farmers but policymakers should have an appreciation of why some UK farmers voted to leave.
‘In the future, we need an agricultural policy that delivers profitable, sustainable farming across the EU. This cannot be done without tackling the problems in the supply chain and Scotland is not alone in facing falling farm incomes at a time when other parts of the food chain are going from strength to strength. We need proper collaboration in the supply chain where everyone can make a margin that allows them to invest and be sustainable for the future.’