Ineffective policy making cut farming’s contribution to the UK economy

The ability of British agriculture to achieve its objective of ‘producing more from less’ has been hampered by single issue policy making at European and UK levels according to the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) – the trade body for Britain’s agriculture supply industry.

In a new report the AIC has estimated that the imbalance between potential opportunities and threats in UK agriculture could be as much as £3.9 billion or a third of the value which farmers add to the UK economy.

Their study, entitled Food Supply in Balance, is based upon two years of investigations, which have looked into concerns that policy is being made without an understanding of the cumulative effects on the farming industry.

The study identified potential opportunities and threats, which ranged from animal disease to market volatility. A list of ten significant threats was included in the final analysis, six of which arose from increased UK and EU regulation.

Using all of the credible data they obtained they put together an interactive spreadsheet, which is able to estimate the effects of the threats and the cost to the UK agricultural economy.

It found that the arable sector was more adversely affected by threats and suffered from a lack of opportunities under the current single policy regime, resulting in a reduction of cereals by up to 30 per cent. In comparison livestock was less affected, with dairy identified as the worst affected with up to 18 per cent reduction in output.