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Minister hears from farmers at Royal Cornwall Show

Farmers and fishermen speak to Cabinet Office Minister about impact of Brexit.

Minister without Portfolio Brandon Lewis met with farmers at the Royal Cornwall Show today (Thursday, 6 June) to discuss the impact and opportunities of Brexit on the farming industry.

Leaving the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) allows us to decide our own farming policy for the first time in more than forty years, including a new system of paying farmers for protecting the environment and investing in sustainable food production.

The Royal Cornwall Show is one of the biggest agricultural events in the area - showcasing the best in local produce and local business. The Minister heard firsthand from farmers in the county who are often reliant on seasonal workers due to a large number of market gardens and flower farms. The Government recognises the concerns of farmers as we prepare to leave the EU, given the current reliance on EU workers, and is working closely with industry to monitor the latest data on labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal labour.

Fishermen and fishing industry representatives also spoke to the Minister on his visit to Cornwall’s second largest port, Newlyn, about how they think the fishing industry in the area may be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

Brandon Lewis, Cabinet Office Minister without Portfolio, said:

It was great to visit the Royal Cornwall Show today and see the very best of what this impressive county has to offer.

I listened to farmers and fishermen about the challenges and their hopes for the future. I assured them that this Government is working hard to make sure the labour needs of the agriculture sector are met once we leave the EU and that we will deliver a profitable and sustainable fisheries industry in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

Alex Stevens, regional policy manager for the South West NFU (National Farmers’ Union) said:

Farmers and food producers value this opportunity to voice the challenges and opportunities that leaving the EU will present direct to the heart of government. The recent Health and Harmony consultation looking at the future of agricultural policy in the UK has highlighted the role that farming plays in producing food, maintaining and enhancing the environment and contributing to the rural economy, but a viable and profitable sector depends on much more than this.

Clarity on the future of seasonal and permanent workers within the supply chain, certainty about trade deals within the EU and beyond, and meaningful measures to support top quality, traceable and dependable domestic food production are all needed.

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