Brexit sows seeds of doubt for British farmers

Since Britain voted last June to exit the European Union, the country's finance, car and airline sectors have been lobbying the loudest for continued access to the European single market.

Brexit sows seeds of doubt for British farmers

World Bulletin / News Desk

Dependent on foreign workers and subsidies from Brussels, Britain's small but important agricultural sector is losing sleep over the possible fallout from Brexit, but hopes a future outside the EU will open up new export opportunities.

The agricultural sector -- which represents less than one percent of Britain's national output -- has been less vocal, although the stakes are just as high.

Meurig Raymond, chairman of Britain's National Farming Union (NFU), has said Brexit presents "a huge opportunity for agriculture" but has warned of the need for continued access to an EU-wide workforce.

Being outside the single market could make it difficult for British farms to hire workers from elsewhere in the EU for the often back-breaking seasonal picking and harvesting.

Around six percent of the 480,000 people working in the UK agricultural sector were born outside the country, according to the most recent official data from 2014.

But Prime Minister Theresa May insists that Britain will leave Europe's single market or tariff-free zone in order to control EU immigration in a so-called "hard" Brexit that will force the country to seek a series of new trade deals globally.

Britain imports twice as many farm products from the EU as it exports. And of agricultural produce made in the UK, 72 percent is sent to the European Union.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2017, 12:03