Thursday, 9 August 2018
Potatoes are less exposed to Brexit risks than many other sectors.
That’s according to David Swales, Head of Strategic Insight at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), who spoke at Potatoes in Practice in Dundee on Thursday (9 August).
He added: “Tariff-free access is critical for most sectors, but for potatoes barriers might present opportunities for import substitution – particularly in the processing sector.”
As he addressed a Scottish audience, David said that for the potato industry north of the border, this may translate into a larger domestic market for seed producers.
The Scottish agricultural landscape is different to that in England, a fact recognised by AHDB in its Horizon report which looks at Brexit prospects for Scotland.
“Some of Scotland’s specific challenges come from the type of land available to farmers,” said David. “When this is coupled with a less favourable post-Brexit outlook for the general cropping sector, many businesses will want to maximise a potential potatoes opportunity.”
AHDB launched a new online calculator this season that allows growers to see for the first time how they may be affected by potential Brexit scenarios.
It’s part of a wider suite of practical business tools unveiled by the organisation to help farmers review their business performance and remain fit for the future.
The Brexit Impact Calculator allows individuals to input their own data and see what effects the different Brexit scenarios might have on their business.
“Despite the potential opportunities in potatoes, tremendous uncertainty still surrounds the outcome of Brexit negotiations,” said David. “Where the seed sector is concerned, a no deal Brexit and the associated potential tariffs and trade barriers are significant risks.
“In any eventuality, it is important that businesses make proactive and strategic decisions to be fit for the future.
“Feedback from farmers and growers has indicated that many are unsure how the different scenarios might affect them, so we have now produced a tool to help them better understand what Brexit could mean for their bottom line.”
The calculator is just part of a wider tool list which looks at five key areas of the business covering topics, from being efficient with resources to financial management and planning for the future. The five areas are;
- Review of farm business
- Profit and performance
- Brexit scenario planning
- Individual farm performance – technical change
- Getting the most from the marketplace.
The online toolkit also features a resilience check list which uses questions to identify areas of the business that may benefit from additional attention to ensure it is sustainable after Brexit.