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EU corrects blunder which left farmers with huge stores of uncollected grain

The EU has corrected a blunder which left farmers across the country with huge stores of uncollected grain on their premises.



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EU blunder leaves farmers with huge stores of uncollected grain

The European Commission had failed to re-authorise the Red Tractor assurance scheme, along with four different schemes from other member states, despite the application for re-approval being lodged six months ago.

 

Shortly after Farmers Guardian went to the Commission for comment, it sent a letter to stakeholders advising the scheme would now be recognised.

 

The unexplained gaffe meant farmers whose grain was destined for the biofuels market had been left in the lurch, with some having to fork out for interim storage.

 

Needless

 

NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly said: “It is vital for the arable industry that the European Commission recognises these concerns and provides a solution after this needless delay in re-approval.

 

“This is a very disruptive situation for farmers who are finding themselves unable to have their grain collected by merchants and, in some cases, having to accommodate temporary storage for their produce.

 

“The NFU is confident the Commission has no substantive reason to cause further delay. To our knowledge, there are no questions about the scheme outstanding.”

 

Implications

 

Market analysts have already warned the lapse in approval could have wider-reaching implications.

 

Cecilia Pryce from grain co-operative Openfield has questioned whether UK schemes such as Red Tractor would be recognised by the EU after Brexit, suggesting farmers may need to move to a different system.

 

“Ironically, we could find ourselves having to use an audit system controlled by the German Government in order to sell our commodities into biofuels”, she said.

 

Wake-up call

 

“This current situation is a good wake-up call to Defra, the Department for International Trade, the end consumer and also farmers.

 

“No paperwork or tick in a box equals no trade, and it worries me it could happen in many ways, be that through chemical re-registration being missed or even a change in labelling.

 

“The importance of these things needs to be absorbed by us all and we need to be active in pushing for timely action to prevent issues rather than waiting until they become a major financial burden.”


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