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Ed's Brexit round-up

29th Jun 2018 / By Ed Barker

Many NPA members have been accustomed to me discussing what Brexit means for the trade in pork products, in the labour market and for future national biosecurity capabilities.

However, it is also important to note the impact that Brexit could have on the trade in breeding pigs and breeding material both to and from the UK.

At the start of the year, we at the NPA became concerned that whilst Defra and other Departments had a good understanding of the possible food related concerns of Brexit (trade flows, tariffs etc), the issue of breeding stock has been severely underrepresented in public discussions or during our various meetings we attend.

With that in mind, the NPA arranged a meeting between a suite of Defra civil servants, and the heads of UK pig breeding companies, including the BPA, back in February. This was to help ensure Defra are better informed of what the breeding sector sees as a good, or bad, Brexit deal, as well as explaining how these scenarios could affect UK pig producers on the ground.

Discussions have covered the current EU trade dynamic, the impact of a ‘hard’ Brexit, difficulties of the current system, threats and opportunities from new trading relationships, zootech regulations, live breeding animal exports and imports, national herd health and border controls. In essence, it was all about getting breeding and genetics up the agenda.

So successful was this meeting that on June 28, the NPA spearheaded a cross-livestock breeding companies meeting with Defra, so that trends across all sectors could be taken into account. We are expecting further meetings with Defra in Autumn, and it is more than likely that this will be a more regular occurrence.