Agricultural policy reform after Brexit

Professor Iain Fraser

What can we learn from Australia and New Zealand about agricultural policy reform after Brexit?

This is an excerpt from an article by Professor Iain Fraser published on the Trade Knowledge Exchange commentary website:

‘With the decision taken by the UK government to exit the EU there are a myriad of questions and issues for all sectors of the economy including agriculture, the rural environment and the food economy. Although agriculture is a small part of the UK economy (0.59% of GDP in 2017) its importance is far greater. Farmers manage more than 70% of the land area in the UK. The food and drink processing sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK employing 400,000 workers. The total agri-food sector employs 3.9 million people.

The economics profession has for a time long advocated serious and far reaching root and branch changes to how we organise and deliver agricultural policy.  The situation we now find ourselves in is seen as a “once in a life time opportunity” to significantly change how we design and implement agricultural policy. To this effect the UK Government initially published an Agricultural Bill in September 2018. However, due to the prorogation of Parliament the Bill will need to restart the legislative process. This delay aside it is highly likely that the “new” Bill will fundamentally change how agricultural policy in the UK will function: farming will only obtain public financial support for the production of public goods. This means the removal of the last vestiges of the traditional forms of agriculture support. In addition, the Bill proposes a transition period running from 2021 until 2027, although the start of this process is highly likely to be delayed.’

Continue to read the full article here.