British farmers must be able to compete with the rest of the world ‘on the same terms’ after Brexit, as Ukraine looks to complete a deal with the UK as soon as possible.
Speaking at the Financial Times-BUCC Ukraine Business Forum in London, NFU deputy president Guy Smith said UK farmers were happy to compete with the rest of the world but, if they were subjected to a ’high level of regulation’ foreign peers were not, there was a problem.
Mr Smith was particularly concerned by the threat to the adoption of gene-editing technology after the European Court of Justice in July declared gene editing should be governed by the same regulations as genetic modification.
He added if the UK was to ‘suffer the same regulation, farmers would not be able to employ the technology in the same way’ as growers in rival countries, a disparity which could raise big challenges.
Ukraine was an emerging agricultural powerhouse, and was looking to a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK which went further than current agreements with the EU.
Mr Smith added it had rapidly increased production over the past decade and had the potential to upscale further. He urged farming organisations to keep an eye on any trade discussions.
“Although it is very early days with the terms of Brexit still not at all clear, it is useful to understand what is going on in global agriculture in terms of changing patterns of trade.”
Alex Lissitsa, president of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, said there were big prospects in feed markets for Ukraine to grow globally.
“I believe strategically in the future, feed will play a bigger role than feed,” he said.
This was based on the concept that ’consumers will always prefer local’. However, origin was not a big issue for feed.
He added the opportunity was to produce high-quality feed for the global market, including ingredients such as lysine, an amino acid which represents an important feed additive.
But they needed investment and technology into manufacturing to take advantage of this demand.