FARMING organisations have called on the Government to rule out a no deal Brexit, after MPs rejected Theresa May’s deal in parliament last week.

The UK Farming Roundtable, which consists of organisations representing farmers and growers from all agricultural sectors, warned of several potential impacts the industry could face if Britain were to leave the European Union without a deal.

These impacts included a no deal resulting in a trade embargo on the export of UK animal based products to the EU, whilst Britain waits to be approved as a third country.

Trade barriers could also go between the UK and EU, which could limit the availability of many farm inputs such as veterinary medicines, fertilisers, plant protection products, machinery parts and animal feed. Export tariffs could also be imposed on the 60 per cent of food and feed that Britain exports to the EU, increasing export tariffs to an average of 27 per cent on chicken, 46 per cent on lamb and 65 per cent on beef.

Speaking on behalf of the Roundtable, NFU president Minette Batters said: “The members of the Roundtable were clear in their view that a no deal Brexit would be disastrous, not only for our farmers but for the public too, who rely on our ability to provide them with a sustainable, safe and affordable supply of high quality, British food.

“With less than three months until the scheduled day of departure, the Roundtable was concerned that no deal remains a real possibility in the absence of any clear majority for an alternative outcome.

“The Roundtable was particularly concerned that some Parliamentarians continue to make the case that nodeal would be a manageable and acceptable outcome to Brexit.

“Agriculture is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry – food and drink –, which is worth £113bn to the UK economy. Volatile farm gate prices and interrupted supplies would put not only the 500,000 farming jobs at risk, but the many firms that supply these farm and land management businesses.

“Our organisations remain committed to playing their part in managing Brexit, but we believe that leaving without a deal on March 29 will lead, very quickly, to a struggling farming sector.

“There is a very real risk that a disorderly Brexit will lead to an immediate reliance on overseas imports which have been produced to lower standards, while many UK farms struggle to survive. The implications for the domestic food supply and our wider economy, would represent an historic political failure. A no deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.”