Regulatory Divergence Jeopardise Northern Ireland’s Agriculture

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News in brief:
- Northern ireland’s farmer’s union has expressed concerns over potential negative impacts of regulatory divergence between the UK and the EU on the country’s agriculture.
– It urges the UK government to implement mechanisms to address post-Brexit regulatory differences that pose threats to farming sectors, such as the cereal industry and the £5 million organic egg sector.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), the largest democratic voluntary organisation representing farmers and growers in Northern Ireland, has raised concerns about the potential impact of regulatory divergence between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the country’s agriculture.

Alexander Kinnear, parliamentary officer for the UFU, emphasised in a statement that the UK government had to implement mechanisms to address these post-Brexit regulatory differences.

These divergence caused by the development of distinct legal standards separately imposed by the two entities pose a significant threat to the future of certain farming sectors in Northern Ireland, Kinnear said. He cautioned that the viability of the cereal sector, for example, could be in jeopardy if the restriction on glyphosate use for pre-harvest desiccation stands.

The union executive further highlighted that Northern Ireland and the UK’s absence of member state status hinders their ability to influence EU decisions, leaving them at a disadvantage compared to other EU countries seeking exemptions.

He also mentioned the organic egg sector in Northern Ireland, valued at £5 million annually, as another area of concern. The EU’s proposed reinstatement of a regulation mandating 100% organic feed for hens in this sector would place farmers in the country at a competitive disadvantage compared to their counterparts in Great Britain, who will continue to be allowed to use 95% organic feed. The higher costs associated with the EU regulation threatens the viability of the organic egg sector in Northern Ireland.

Kinnear is urging the UK government to prioritise addressing these regulatory divergences to safeguard the future of Northern Ireland’s agriculture and protect the livelihoods of its farmers.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.


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