Fruit growers have been urged to ‘use it or lose it’ when thinking about subsidy from the EU.
Weatherbys Hamilton insurance said fruit farmers should take advantage of current EU funds to prevent them being later side-lined or cut by Defra post-Brexit.
The insurance offers financial protection against damage ‘wreaked by hailstorms’.
Jonny McIrvine, partner at Weatherbys Hamilton and expert in hail insurance, said although many UK apple growers take full advantage of the subsidy, the uptake should be much more widespread.
He said: “The government has promised to match existing subsidies until 2020, but those with a low take-up are unlikely to survive a review.
“If we are not using it now, we will not be getting it later. Growers need to take action now.”
The fund currently implemented by the EU sees Brussels offer hail insurance, a subsidy through the Crisis Management fund.
It offers up to 50 per cent of the premium which provides grower financial protection against potential devastation of a hail strike.
But experts worried many growers would go out of business if similar levels of subsidy were not available when the UK leaves the EU.
Paul Roberts, UK consultant to OFH, the Dutch Mutual top fruit hail insurer, added: “Failure to fully utilise the Crisis Management fund whilst we are still part of the EU will surely mean that when the UK government consider their police for farming subsidies after Brexit, this benefit to the fruit grower will disappear.
“It really is use it or lose it.”