Brexit provides ‘game changing’ opportunities and challenges for the UK’s £27.8 billion dairy industry, but failure to strike the right deals on trade and migrant labour could have disastrous effects.
In a White Paper report delivered to Government this week, Dairy UK said continued trading agreements with the EU without barriers will mean massive export and growth opportunities but the worst outcome from Brexit would be a return to World Trade Organisation rules.
Highlighting the importance of skilled and unskilled labour, the organisation said failure to maintain access would drive up operating costs and hit margins hard. A frictionless Irish border was also vital.
While it recognised the threat of plant-based alternatives to milk, Dairy UK said prospects for British dairy were good, with increasing demand for dairy globally putting world production on an upward trend.
Dairy UK chairman Paul Vernon said: “Brexit is a monumental challenge and a game changer. If Brexit is successfully delivered there is tremendous potential in terms of exports and product development. If it is a failure, there will be far-reaching consequences.
“Given the increase in global demand for dairy, prospects are good. We do, however, need to seize the moment and this will require yet more innovation and inspiration, which has been the hallmark of our industry for generations.”
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