Farmers warned of impact of ‘no-deal’ on UK fertiliser supply

Commenting on the current impasse, Peter Smith, Commercial Director for Yara UK said “With a decision on the future trading relationship between the UK and Europe still in the balance there remains a strong possibility that there will be a ‘no- deal’ Brexit. If a ‘no-deal’ is the outcome then I am not sure that the farming community is aware that there will be a 6% import duty or tariff imposed on the majority of fertilisers that enter Great Britain”.

This will not impact Northern Ireland as it will remain part of the EU trading area but will affect the flows of products from GB to NI as there will be additional paperwork required at border crossings.

“My other big concern”, continues Mr Smith, “is the impact that a ‘no-deal’ will have on the flows of products entering GB and the possibility of slowing the Supply Chain at ports caused by additional customs paperwork – and potentially a lack of customs resource full stop”.

Coronavirus has already impacted the operations of many businesses but the possibility of a Supply Chain not functioning effectively and delayed ‘just in time’ buying could result in a perfect storm and impact the ability of the Supply Chain to deliver products to farm when they are required.

“We have been here before over the last few years”, concludes Mr Smith, “and we as a business have ensured we are doing as much as possible to offset any potential problems.  For example, we have invested in our storage facilities over the last 3 years to help offset delays in supply.  However, we would encourage all farmers to consider their requirements for this coming Spring and if you have storage available look to plan early delivery of some if not all of your fertiliser requirements before the turn of the year”.

Commenting on the state of the negotiations James Cox, Vice Chair of the NFU Crops Board is still optimistic a deal will be reached.  “There is too much at stake for both our economies for negotiators to fail to reach an agreement, politics can be perverse but I am hopeful that business sense will prevail.  However I would encourage all farmers to look carefully at every area of their business to ensure they have reduced risk wherever they can and availability of inputs for next spring is certainly one area that is vital for farmers to protect”.